No. 15 Pittsburgh beats Oklahoma State 74-68
Travis Ford went to a cliche to sum up Oklahoma State’s two
trips to Madison Square Garden.
”You better be careful what you wish for,” Ford said Saturday
after the Cowboys lost 74-68 to No. 15 Pittsburgh, their third loss
of the season and they all have come at the building known as ”The
World’s Most Famous Arena.”
”I don’t know if we’re coming back anytime soon. The people
treated us so well. I think these trips have made us better.
Hopefully we’ll learn from this game but the Garden has not been
Oklahoma State lost to Stanford and Virginia Tech last month in
the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Cowboys fell behind early against the
Panthers on Saturday and couldn’t overcome a 16-point second-half
”I thought we would play better than we did,” Ford said. ”We
still gave ourselves a chance even with all the stats that didn’t
go our way. Hopefully our team sees we’re close.”
The Panthers (9-1) led by as many as 16 points in the second
half, but Oklahoma State (6-3) was able to get within five twice
late. Each time, Ashton Gibbs was able to make at least one free
But the game was won because of the Panthers’ rebounding, a part
of the game they have always excelled in and Pittsburgh is fourth
in the nation in that statistic right now.
”It is what we do,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. ”It is
ingrained in our program. We recruit guys with a nose for the
The Panthers finished with a 43-25 rebound advantage and
outscored the Cowboys 40-26 in the paint.
”Rebounding was the key,” Dixon said. ”That’s what we
Oklahoma State senior guard Keiton Page said the loss did show a
lot to the Cowboys.
”We can compete with a team like Pittsburgh and we went down to
the wire,” he said. ”We competed the entire game. It shows we can
be better if we do the little things. The sky’s the limit for this
Nasir Robinson had 15 points for Pittsburgh, while Lamar
Patterson added 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
”We have a rebounding drill in practice where we throw each
other around pretty good,” Robinson said. ”We just go out and
rebound and everything else takes care of itself.”
Le’Bryan Nash had 20 points for the Cowboys (6-3).
”You can’t get outrebounded like that,” Nash said. ”It was a
terrible job by us.”
Gibbs had eight points – including two 3s – in Pitt’s 17-7 run
to close the first half that gave the Panthers a 42-30 lead.
Pittsburgh extended the lead to 16 points three times, the last
at 59-43 on a basket by Patterson with 9:03 to play.
The Cowboys, who started the second half by missing 13 of their
first 17 shots, later rallied.
”You just can’t get down to a top 15 team by 12 at halftime and
get outrebounded significantly,” Ford said. ”We dug ourselves a
hole and when we came back that should have been a run to put us up
instead of getting close. We didn’t adjust to their physicality
until midway in the second half and we played well from then
Oklahoma State got within 71-66 with 20 seconds to play when
Markel Brown stole a pass, scored and was fouled. He missed the
free throw and Gibbs made two foul shots one second later.
Reger Dowell’s layup with 10 seconds to go made it 73-68, but
Gibbs made one of two from the line. The miss was his only one of
the game as he finished 7 of 8 and the Panthers were 18 of 29. The
Cowboys were 9 of 13 from the free throw line.
”Gibbs just controls the basketball game. He is a very
impressive player,” Ford said of the Big East preseason player of
the year. ”All they say about him is true. There is a great pace
to his game.”
After the poor start to the second half, Oklahoma State finished
14 of 33 from the field (42.4 percent) in the final 20 minutes.
”I wish we could have finished better,” Dixon said, ”we have
to do a better job of that.”