Central Arkansas loses 91-63 to No. 24 Cowboys

For the first eight minutes against No. 24 Oklahoma State,
Central Arkansas didn’t miss starting point guard LaQuentin Miles a
single bit.

Then reality set in.

Le’Bryan Nash scored 19 points, Markel Brown had 14 points and
eight rebounds and Oklahoma State overcame an early 11-point
deficit to beat the Bears 91-63 on Sunday.

Even with Miles out with a broken hand, Central Arkansas (4-4)
made 10 of its first 15 shots and raced out to a 22-11 lead. It
didn’t last, though, as Oklahoma State scored the next 13 points
and never trailed again.

”We knew we were going to be in for a tough matchup tonight,”
coach Corliss Williamson said. ”I was proud of our guys’ effort,
coming out tonight, not being scared, trying to compete early in
the game.

”But I thought Oklahoma State did an excellent job of
withstanding our run early and just taking control of the
basketball game.”

OSU coach Travis Ford called timeout after Jarvis Garner’s layup
pushed the Central Arkansas lead to 11 with 12 minutes left before
halftime, and the Cowboys (8-1) responded immediately.

”I had seen enough,” Ford said. ”The problem was things we
haven’t been seeing – the carelessness with the ball and then
getting beat off the dribble with no protection. When I saw those
things, I knew this is not us. We haven’t seen this. I need to get
their attention a little bit.

”We kind of woke up from there.”

The Bears missed their next 12 attempts against changing
defenses, and Oklahoma State roared back to take the lead when
Brown converted a layup while getting fouled and then head-butted
the basket support in celebration. He completed the three-point
play to make it 24-22 with 6:42 left in the first half.

”They kind of hit us in the mouth,” Brown said. ”So we had to
respond quickly and get back into the game before it was
over.”

Jordan Harks tied his career high with 16 points and Garner
added 14 points for Central Arkansas. Oliver Wells took the place
of Miles – the team’s second-leading scorer – in the lineup but
lasted less than 2 minutes before going to the bench with two
fouls. Wells ended up with one point, three assists and two
turnovers.

”(Miles) just has the ability to do a lot of things. He can
rebound the basketball. Defensively, he can get steals, but also he
has ability to score the ball well,” Williamson said. ”When we
went through that scoring drought … normally in those stretches,
he has an opportunity to get a bucket for us here and there to try
and help stop their run or give us the momentum.”

Williamson said he thinks Miles could be back for the first week
of Southland Conference play in January.

”We’ve got to have other guys step up and just hopefully his
injury will heal soon and we’ll have him by the time conference
starts,” he said.

The Cowboys outscored UCA 23-2 during an 8 1/2-minute stretch
when the Bears went without a field goal.

”We’re pretty good in transition when we’re pushing the
basketball,” Williamson said. ”Once OSU went on a run, it was
like we were kind of froze or a little shell-shocked and we stopped
attacking on the other end of the court.”

Phil Forte had 12 points and Michael Cobbins and Marcus Smart
each scored 10 for Oklahoma State, which racked up a 53-35
rebounding advantage and outscored the Bears 44-26 in the
paint.

Nash had a putback, a three-point play and a spinning layup
during a 13-4 spurt that put the game away after Central Arkansas
closed to 42-33 early in the second half.

”We don’t want to get beat and get nationally exposed for
that,” Nash said. ”We just came together and played Oklahoma
State basketball, played defense and it led to easy baskets.”

Robert Crawford, who had a career-best 39 points in the Bears’
last game, scored 11 on 3-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. He
came in making 54 percent of his attempts. UCA was making 41
percent but went 6 for 26 against Oklahoma State.

After the hot start, UCA was 14 for 54 (26 percent) from the
field the rest of the way.

”Our defense the first 8 minutes was just `I hope they miss,”’
Ford said. ”We made them miss the last 32 minutes.”

Walk-on Alex Budke, the son of late Oklahoma State women’s
basketball coach Kurt Budke, hit a 3-pointer for OSU’s final
points. Kurt Budke died in a plane crash last year, and his son
subsequently returned to Stillwater to play for the Cowboys.

The crowd stood and cheered for Budke’s first points at OSU.