The phrase “early and often” is pretty much non-existant with this ballclub unless we’re talking fouls, turnover, or 4-letter words from Travis Ford. It wasn’t until the 13-minute mark in the second half that OSU managed to string together a 24-4 run to bury a hot-shooting Roadrunners squad coached, ironically, by former hot-shooting Oklahoma State guard, Brooks Thompson.
The bench was outstanding throughout for OSU. JP Olukemi, Markel Brown, Darrell Williams, and Reger Dowell combined to put up 50 points while the starters could only muster a meager 29. Part of the reason the starting five could never find a rhythm is because Ray Penn picked up two fouls in the first ninety seconds and the other is because Keiton never got going. Instead of working an effective in-out game with Keiton nailing deep threes and Marshall roaming the paint, we settled for an in-in game that clogged up the middle and hindered our superior athleticism.
UTSAs guards were lights out too in the first half. In fact, through nearly 3/4 of the game I wondered if they were ever going to miss a three pointer. They were 9-12 at one point but ended a more modest 11-20 from beyond the arc. As Coach Ford said in his postgame interview, they’re a three-point shooting team and you have to think they’re going to start missing them. Thankfully they did and OSU put the pedal to the floor.
Olukemi started the 24-4 run with a monstrous dunk that caused me to tweet, “THAT is how OSU swingmen are supposed to dunk the basketball.” Then he hit a three, Darrell Williams followed that up with 4 quick points, Penn hit a three, and the rout was on.
This team is frustrating though. On one hand, you have Pilgrim slinging it around the lane and Ray Penn throwing it into the 8th row and Markel barreling into somebody out of control and Marshall doing his whirling dervish impression and losing the ball every other possession. Travis Ford probably hates his life at some for long stretches of time.
But then he sees Markel cross people over and take it strong to the hole. Or he watches Keiton and Marshall run the pick and roll to perfection. Or he watches Olukemi and Williams run a gorgeous fast break and has to ask himself, “why do they do all those other things that make me want to yank all my hair out?”
It’s a valid question, Travis, one I don’t have to answer to. The cop-out is that they’re young and they’ll grow into their talent. At some point when you have more talent than who you’re playing, you’re just going to win the sporting event. It’s happened in every game OSU has played this year. They’ve been better than who they were playing in 12 games and not as good in 2 games. They’re 12-2. Sometimes, it’s just that simple.
That being said, there’s so much potential going on here. This team could go 12-4 or 6-10 in the Big XII and I wouldn’t be surprised. They do some of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. If Holgorsen said Weeden’s pick in Austin was “the worst play in college football history” I can’t even imagine what he’d say about some of the plays made by this hoops team.
They seem to refuse to spread the offense out at times. We should be running and flying around and instead we’re bunched up and tryng to force all 10 people into the lane. Olukemi and Markel are the only ones who seem like they want to run. Well, Penn, too but more often than not he’s flinging his body, or the ball, around out of control and it ends in a turnover. Still, I’d rather see that than the 10-man hokey-pokey at the free throw line. On the Penn fast break pass to Olukemi for the hammer that started the 24-4 run and I wrote, “why don’t we run like that all the time, it’s who we are. It really is.”
So maybe the last 12 minutes were a wonderful preview of what the next 16 games hold. Or maybe they were just an aberration from an average team who’s going to get into some ugly slugfests with the rest of the Big XII. Whatever the case, I say we need to go at least 9-7 over the next 8 weeks to be dancing in mid-March.
A few more notes:
- The crowd tonight was borderline the worst I’ve ever seen. I realize it’s Christmas break and everything but come on people…
- The 2nd youngest team in the nation (UTSA) should never ever go into GIA and get a W. I don’t care if it’s Christmas break, summer break, or the entire faculty and student body is on an overseas study abroad trip…
- Markel Brown has flashes where he looks like he was put on earth to play basketball. Also, he kind of resembles a bizarro cross between Evan Turner and Rajon Rondo. Anybody with me on that?
- I wonder why Melvin Johnson III for UTSA wears #31? The only thing missing from his Reggie Miller routine was a throat slash towards a standing, screaming Boone Pickens at midcourt in the second half.
- Is it just me or does Brooks Thompson look exactly like Harland Williams?
- The arena was so quiet at one point I could literally hear every word Travis Ford was saying. I hate Christmas break games.
- I thought Ford was going to Les Miles Brendan Manzer at halftime. Right after that I wrote “he’s probably dropping an F-bomb or sixty in the locker room right now” which he all but confirmed in his postgame interview by saying, “I had a ‘conversation’ with the team at halftime.”
- I got a text from my dad after Olukemi hit that corner-three during the 24-4 run that said, “why did he just make the Mr. Magoo sign with his hands?” I think that’s what the kids call “a 3-ball” sign pops. Just throwing that out there.
- Trust me, you won’t find anybody in the world who hated Byron Eaton more than me but even I can admit his dribble-drive-kick move was effective and has been missed since he graduated. I think Penn could be successful at it, he just doesn’t ever do it.
- Good to see Ford glad-handing with big dogs like Malone Mitchell after the game.
- Matt Pilgrim loves 19-foot Js, I just don’t love him taking them.
Next game: Kansas State at home on Saturday