MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 20, 2012

No. 24 Cowboys steamroll past UTA

By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service

— STILLWATER — Oklahoma State’s run of powderpuff opponents continued Wednesday night.

Unlike Sunday’s slow start against Central Arkansas, the Cowboys jumped on University of Texas-Arlington early and never backed down en route to a 69-44 blowout.

With the Cowboys having an up-and-down shooting night, they relied heavily on their defense — which UTA found out to be quite good. OSU forced the Mavericks to turn the ball over 31 times for the game — finishing with more turnovers than field goals made.

“I loved our defensive effort. It was consistent, other than a few minutes in the second half,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “That was obviously the difference in the game. Whenever you turn somebody over 31 times at home, you’re probably going to win.”

The Mavs averaged a turnover a minute in the first half with 20 — the last coming in the final five seconds of the period that led to an easy lay-up for Markel Brown to make it 36-17. It wasn’t until just under 10 minutes left in the game that UTA finally held more points than turnovers.

While UTA came in with a 5-2 mark — with the losses being to Oklahoma and Texas — Ford admitted that he was worried about how his team would handle the aggressive veteran Mavericks squad.

“I can’t tell you how concerned I was about this game. From what I saw on tape, I was very concerned,” Ford said. “I thought they matched up with us very well — and in fact, thought they had a better matchup than we did. They look so physical and so senior-laden.”

OSU’s big man, 6-foot-11, 260-pound Jurick, had no problems with the physicality, however. Going up against Jordan Reves, listed at 6-10, 240 pounds, Jurick won the battle of the big man, handily. Reves finished with eight points, though most of them came when 6-8, 220-pound Michael Cobbins was guarding him.

Most of the turnover trouble for the Mavericks came from UTA’s guards. Cameron Catlett turned the ball over eight times, while Karol Gruszecki made six mistakes. Brown had the duties of slowing down Gruszecki, who came in leading the team with 10.7 points per game, and held the Mavs guard scoreless — not even attempting a shot.

Brown, averaging 14 points per game coming into the contest, also led all scorers with 17 points on 7 of 17 shooting for his 10th double-digit scoring performance of the season.

The Cowboys return to action against another Tennessee Tech (6-5), which has lost two of its last three games, at noon on Saturday.