Cowboys Roll, Look Ahead To Gonzaga
Phil Forte
Phil Forte

Posted Dec 22, 2012

Bring on Gonzaga! The Oklahoma State Cowboys closed out the early (easy) portion of their schedule with a 78-42 victory over Tennessee Tech at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday afternoon. The 24th-ranked Cowboys (10-1) will find out just how good they are when No. 14 Gonzaga (11-1) visits GIA on New Year’s Eve in one of the most anticipated home nonconference matchups in several years.

Freshman Phil Forte led the way with a career-high 22 points as the Cowboys improved their home record to 61-9 in Travis Ford’s five seasons as head coach. Four other players scored in double figures – Kamari Murphy (12 points), Markel Brown (11), Marcus Smart (11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks) and Kirby Gardner (10 points, 7 assists and 5 steals, all career bests) – as the Cowboys won for the 180th time in the last 184 home nonconference games dating back to 1987.

But few of those 184 games were as tough as what they will face in nine days.

After winning five consecutive home games in the December by an average of 24.2 points over Tennessee Tech, Texas-Arlington, Central Arkansas, Missouri State and South Florida, the Cowboys will host Gonzaga on Dec. 31. The Zags will definitely challenge Ford’s team more than any of the previous visitors to Gallagher-Iba this season.

OSU’s 10-1 record is its best since opening the 2009-10 season with 11 victories in the first 12 games. The Cowboys will now take a nine-day break before hosting Gonzaga at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31 in a nationally televised game (ESPN2).

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few’s team has won 20 or more games in each of his 12 seasons in leading the program, and the Zags 13 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament is tied for fourth among current active streaks behind Kansas, Duke and Michigan State. The Zags have advanced to the Sweet 16 in four of Few’s 12 seasons as head coach.

“They’re extremely talented. Everybody knows Gonzaga’s tradition, and they are saying this might be their best team,” Ford said during his post-game radio interview following Saturday’s victory.

“They’re big, they’re physical. They’ve got guards. They’ve got depth. They’ve got a little bit of everything. We’re going to need this place packed and we’re going to need all the support we can get,” added Ford.

The Cowboys have been outstanding defensively through their first 11 games, five times holding their opponents below 50 points – which is the first time an OSU team has done that since 1962-63.

Gonzaga, however, has the nation’s 14th-best scoring team, averaging 81.4 points per game, including scoring 104 against Lewis-Clark State College and 96 against South Dakota.

“It’s going to be a battle between two of the top-25 teams in the country,” said Ford.

Related Stories
Cowboys Roll Against UT-Arlington, 69-44
 -by  Dec 19, 2012
OSU’s 2012 In Review: 100 Photos
 -by  Dec 29, 2012
Smart-Led Cowboys Fall To Gonzaga, 69-68
 -by  Dec 31, 2012

Get the 2014 Recruiting Yearbook and a full year of Go Pokes Magazine with an Annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Basketball > Oklahoma State
[View My HotList]