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Pokes escape Butler 69-67

It was hideous down the stretch but 7-0 is 7-0.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI


Oklahoma State held off Butler 69-67 in a game which it led at halftime 44-30 but yikes, that last three minutes was grotesque. That’s right, OSU broke its streak of 13 straight halves with 40+ points in style by not even reaching 30 in the second half.

Butler is good, let’s not discount that, and tournaments like this are often wonky with teams playing back-to-back days but that second half of offense from OSU was cringe-worthy. Gary Parrish of CBS was at the game and he noted this:

That’s what it felt like, too — just get Marcus the ball and get out of the way. I don’t know if you guys have been watching the first six games but that’s not what OSU’s offense is all about.

And it backfired, ironically, in the end anyway when No. 33 missed three straight free throws down the stretch to leave Butler hanging around.

There were good things, too, namely that beating Butler under any conditions no matter who they have playing is commendable and I’m sort of glad OSU didn’t get any breaks late[1. I have a theory that you only get so many lucky breaks/bounces a year and if you use those up in November there aren’t any left in March. Strangely, I have no statistical evidence to back this up.] but the last 10 minutes of this game made me take pause, just for a minute, and wonder just how far this team is built to go in March.

I know we have a long way until then but there were just enough holes to make me wonder if this isn’t a second round game we lose. I specifically want to see OSU get better at defensive rebounding and applying pressure late when it’s ahead. They would destroy teams at the end of games doing that. Instead, passivity.

On to the rest of my thoughts…

• Let’s start with this one:

Butler basketball really is the best.

• For the 394th time since July 4th weekend I’m bummed about Brad Stevens leaving for Boston. It would have been a blast to watch him coach against Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. Heck, it would have been a blast to watch him coach them.

• Your life on the line: A random white guy on Butler or Phil Forte in a three-point contest? I’d probably go Forte but I’d doo doo my compression shorts waiting for that to go down.

• How many times have the words “Butler” and “won’t go away” been used in the last five years? 10,000? More?

• How about this guy?!

• [Marcus Smart hits fadeaway 24-footer] Fraschilla: “Travis Ford has a sense of when to run a play for his best players.” Eh, I kinda think Smart’s just a top five pick and making him look really good.

• I loved the way Nash played in the first half. Going at dudes smaller than him, actually being surprised that he took a three. I’m pretty rough on him sometimes but I think he can be a monster in games like this where he can get a mismatch (that’s most games, actually, which is why I’m hard on him). Come on, Le’Bryan!

• Markel is giving “straight butter 19-footer off a pick” a run for its money as his best play with “crossover into the lane and go up with the lefty finger roll” — I (obviously) heart both.

• This was filthy:

• This Travis Ford reaction was just the greatest…

• We don’t rebound, we never have. I don’t know if we just don’t have the guys or Ford doesn’t emphasize it enough but here are OSU’s last five national rankings in defensive rebounding percentage:

2014: 85th
2013: 130th
2012: 249th
2011: 86th
2010: 21st

Not good.

• Does Alex Barlow know top five picks don’t get called for hooks on the baseline? The video evidence I have says he does not.

• So real:

• Just how bad did Wes Welker smell before?

• I’m in love with this..

• Marcus flopping around all over the court needs to stop. It’s by far the worst thing he does and accomplishes nothing. I get it on a charge or whatever but when you’re running back up the court and run into a 180-pound white kid from Indiana and act like you’ve been sniped by a marine, come on.

• This was kind of cool:

• I loved Fran calling out everybody in Stillwater who doesn’t think Travis Ford is a good coach because he can draw up an inbounds play or two. I’m good, Fran, gonna ride my “413 games coached, one tournament win” stat for a while..

• I’m with OKC Dave, this feels bizarre but it’s true.

• My favorite part of the end of this game was Nolan getting some airtime…

• For all the talk of Marcus becoming a great three-point shooter, he’s now shooting 38 percent on the year. That’ll play, but it’s hardly great. Speaking of shooting percentages, when are we going to start talking about the freak show Markel has become? 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Filth.

•  Why was Markel not posting up Barlow at the end of the game? Barlow is built like a scout teamer and Markel could have abused him down low. Me no understand.

• Le’Bryan Nash and Kamari Murphy, come on down. 25 points and 13 boards combined will certainly play on this team. Both were impressive and strangely I trusted Nash more at the free throw line at the very end than I did Smart.

• How bad was this?

Next game: Sunday night at 6:30 on ESPN2

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