, Muskogee, OK

January 19, 2013

Cowboys hope ‘commitment week’ pays off against Tech

By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service

— STILLWATER – The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team has rededicated itself this past week since a disappointing loss to its Bedlam rivals.

With a week off between games, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford decided to get back to the basics with his Cowboy squad.

“We’ve been calling it commitment week and just dedication, getting back to the basics – some of the things we’ve kind of shied away from,” OSU redshirt sophomore Michael Cobbins said. “But I feel like we’re all back to where we need to be.”

Oklahoma State had an all-around poor performance against Oklahoma, in which the defense gave up the second-most points this season (77) and the offense scored below its season average. Though the Cowboys matched OU in rebounds, it’s still something in which Ford is looking for improvement.

“We’ve had a chance to get back to some of the fundamental things that we’ve needed to work on that we had gotten away from,” Ford said. “It kind of set a tone again for our basketball team. I just thought we had gotten away from our identity a little bit and what we were doing well.”

“The film doesn’t lie. We saw exactly what he was talking about and we didn’t like it ourselves, so we’ve decided to go out there and change it,” Cobbins said.

The players have also carried commitment week off the court, spending more time with each other as a team outside of the usual practices and meetings.

“Team chemistry wasn’t the way it was at the beginning of the year, so we’re doing off the court things together and spending time each other’s houses,” Le’Bryan Nash said. “We’re just trying to get the chemistry better – commitment to each other that we want to win the Big 12. I think this week has been a great week for us.

“On our off day (Wednesday), everybody came over to my house and we just watched movies and talked to each other about what we need to do to get better and make each other better on the court.”

The Cowboys (11-4, 1-2 in Big 12) will find out at 1 p.m. today if commitment week worked when OSU hosts Texas Tech at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Texas Tech is 8-7 overall this season and 1-3 in league play, currently on a three-game losing streak. The Red Raiders lost at Oklahoma on Wednesday night, 81-63. Tech is led by junior forward Jaye Crockett who is averaging 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds off the bench.

“They are probably the most improved team in our league. They have some offensive options and weapons,” Ford said of the Red Raiders squad. “When you’ve got a guy like (Jordan) Tolbert on your team who is like the fourth-leading scorer, you’re pretty good because I thought he was one of the best big men in our league last year, even as a freshman.”