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.