Pokes Pass Road Test In Memphis


One question hung over the heads of the Oklahoma State Cowboys going into Saturday’s game at Memphis: was the dreadful road loss in South Carolina an omen or an outlier?

The Pokes answered that question with an emphatic 73-55 win over Memphis (3-4) to run their record to 8-1 and add an important road victory. Travis Ford’s squad did it with defense and balanced scoring from from the team’s nucleus.

Defense has been the Cowboys’ calling card thus far and that was no different against Memphis. They forced 23 turnovers from the ragged Tigers and limited them to 35% shooting.

Of those 23 turnovers, 15 were steals that helped ignite an offense that was ice cold in its last outing. It was the fifth time this season that the Cowboys have gathered double-digit steals.

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  • The core of Anthony Hickey, Phil Forte, Le’Bryan Nash and Michael Cobbins accounted for an astounding 70 of the Oklahoma State’s 73 points. Nash did most of his work from the free throw line (12-14) in the second half as he notched 20 points to pace the Pokes.

    Forte added 19 points and continued to add to his impressive steal total with four takeaways. Cobbins had perhaps his best game of the young season with 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

    But it was Hickey that sparked the Pokes and delivered his most impressive performance as a Cowboy. Hickey scored the Cowboys first five points and gave them a lead that they would never surrender. Hickey help the team on both ends of the floor as evidenced by his 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals. None of the Memphis guards could match Hickey’s play or intensity.

    Memphis is historically a tough team at home in the FedEx Forum, but the Cowboys silenced the crowd early and often. The Tiger backcourt wilted under the pressure of the Cowboy defense.

    If there was one cause for concern it was rebounding as the Tigers collected 13 offensive boards. It is clear that the Cowboys are in need of a rebounding big man to step up on either end of the floor. Anthony Allen and Mitchell Solomon have been given minutes, but neither have solidified a presence on the low block.

    The road win was a terrific bounce back for the Pokes after the abysmal cold-shooting fiasco at South Carolina. Memphis is not an NCAA Tournament level team, but are typically solid at home. Ford has to feel better going into a week featuring visits from Middle Tennessee State and a ranked Maryland squad. For now, we’ll call the South Carolina game an outlier, but that question won’t be fully answered until Big 12 road tests are passed.