Cowboys Have Plenty To Work On

STILLWATER - The last time Oklahoma State hosted Campbellsville, where Travis Ford got his first head coaching job, the Cowboys beat Ford's old school 102-38. OSU is ranked No. 12 in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll and the Cowboys have one of the nation's best players in Marcus Smart but the result in Sunday's exhibition game was not nearly as demonstrative. OSU won 80-70 over Campbellsville.

It started off well enough when Kamari Murphy hit a turnaround jumper to open the scoring and then almost immediately Marcus Smart got a steal and came down and delighted the sparse crowd listed at 5,500 with a backward slam.

Campbellsville kept it somewhat close, but then in the span of a minute the Cowboys scored on a Murphy slam on a breakaway, Smart drilled a three-pointer from the far baseline and Phil Forte III came back next time down the floor and hit a three from the other side of the baseline to give the Cowboys a 28-13 lead. By halftime the lead expanded to 45-28 over Campbellsville, the NAIA school from Kentucky.

"We went out there underestimating those guys," said senior guard Markel Brown, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds, but he also had three turnovers and OSU had 14 as a team.

"And they played really well as a team. We went out there and we didn't look so good. So, when we get back to practice we have a lot of things to tighten up. Plus-three in rebounding (OSU out rebounded the smaller Tigers only 41-38) isn't good for this team, so we have to go back and tune up some things."

In the second half the Cowboys could never really pull away from Campbellsville. In fact, in the final 10 minutes it was Campbellsville closing the deficit to just 10 points.

Travis Ford was not impressed. "No, not really, I think we shot free throws fairly well and we went 39 times to the free-throw line and that was a positive," answered Ford when asked if he saw any positives in the contest. "Not really, not really. If I did think so I would tell you. I'm not upset, we just didn't do a whole lot really well."

The postgame locker room speech was long, as long as some of the postgame remarks after a disappointing regular season effort. But the positive is this was the first exhibition game and can serves as a wake-up call and a learning experience.

"I think it's always a good opportunity when you can learn," Ford said. "That's why you play these (games), and there was a lot to learn from.

"It was interesting, our first two weeks of practice were phenomenal. The last week has not been very good. We played today like we've been practicing, so there will be a lot that we can learn from it. I don't think there's any question. We will learn from it. There's a lot of areas that we just didn't do very well in today," Ford added.

"It was definitely a wake-up call for a few of us," added post player Michael Cobbins, who finished with 10 points and five rebounds. "If you come out with a big head then you see what can happen to you. It was a wake-up call, we have to get it right or it will continue to happen to us. It's a good thing that it was early and we get to fix it right away."

Murphy had 11 points and eight rebounds and freshman Stevie Clark had 10 points in his first Oklahoma State contest. In fact, Clark may be the only player that advanced some in the coach's eyes coming out of the game. Marcus Smart had nine points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals as he and Clark looked good defensively.

The Cowboys shot a pedestrian 43 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from three-point range, and a solid 77 percent from the free-throw line.

Le'Bryan Nash, a returning starter of significant experience and talent, did not start. One source said he was late for something, either shootaround, pre-game meal or just being at the arena. Ford's comment seemed to agree with that in a more vague way. "Just disciplinary reasons," Ford said when asked about Nash.

Something tells me this was a bad day to be late for anything.

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