February 10, 2008

Mauled in Manhattan

Just over two years ago, Oklahoma State went to Manhattan, Kan., and defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, 63-61.

Why is that relevant? Because it was the last true road victory for the Cowboy basketball program.

Saturday afternoon, the Cowboys returned to the scene of their last road win hoping for a reversal of fortune. That didn't happen, as the No. 20 Wildcats smashed the Pokes, 82-61, in front of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

It was another rough road trip for the Pokes (11-12 overall, 2-7 Big 12), who couldn't figure out a way to stop Michael Beasley. The freshman phenom had a big game, scoring 23 points and posting 13 rebounds. It was his 19th double-double (a school record) and those numbers helped the Cats (17-5, 7-1) post their first win over OSU in five seasons. Jacob Pullen (17 points) and Bill Walker (14) also had good scoring nights for K-State.

While OSU managed to make a game of it in the first half - they went into the locker room down by only five halfway through - the Cowboys simply weren't focused enough to keep up with KSU. After yet another field goal drought to start the second half (3:30), the Wildcats jumped to a 46-33 lead and started to pull away. The Pokes committed 24 turnovers and were out-rebounded 51-29 on the boards. K-State, meanwhile, only picked up 14 turnovers.

Individually, no Cowboy really had a pretty evening either. Terrel Harris scored 16 points, but went 8-of-9 from the free throw line to get there. From the field, Harris was 3-of-9. Freshman James Anderson scored 14 points and Obi Muonelo was next with eight points. The rest of the team only put together 23 points. As a team, the Pokes shot 43 percent from the field, 38 percent (8-of-21) from beyond the three-point line and 73 percent from the charity stripe. OSU actually out-shot KSU (18-of-41 to 29-of-75, respectively) and still lost.

Of course, the big story from this loss is the continuation of the losing streak away from Stillwater in true road outings. With this loss, OSU has now lost 19-straight road contests, including 16 of those within the Big 12.

So what now for the Pokes? The loss against KSU all but assured another losing season in Big 12 play, the third in a row. With tough games against Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M still to come, there's little hope to find a way to cobble together a decent conference mark. Worse yet, the schedule doesn't look to yield too many solid win possibilities either. Their next game on Wednesday against Baylor and the Mar. 1 contest against Nebraska (both at home) are the best chances. The Bedlam game is at home this time around (Mar. 5), but anything can happen in that series. After those, the pickings get mighty slim for OSU. There are only seven games left in the regular season.

As mentioned before, the Pokes return home to take on the Bears this Wednesday at 7 p.m. inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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