Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 20, 2012

OSU cruises past turnover-prone Texas-Arlington

STILLWATER — Both coaches knew heading into Wednesday night's game between No. 24 Oklahoma State and Texas-Arlington that points were going to be hard to come by.

Oklahoma State entered the game allowing 58.2 points per contest, good for fourth in the Big 12. Texas-Arlington's defensive field goal percentage of 33.4 is third in the NCAA.

The Cowboys proved to be too athletic and forced 31 turnovers in a 69-44 victory.

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford had no complaints with the defensive effort from the Cowboys (9-1).

"We're grinding out, we're winning ugly, but that's just who we are," Ford said. "We're winning with defense; we're winning with decent rebounding.

"We got after it. UT Arlington is kind of like us. Sometimes they have trouble scoring, and they need a couple of guys to score. We needed to lock down on a couple of guys, and we did that. Our guys executed the game plan to perfection. We wanted to cut down on a couple of guys, and that's exactly what we did."

Coming off a career-high 18 points, Mavericks guard Karol Gruszecki did not score and committed six turnovers. Cameron Catlett, Gruszecki's backcourt partner, had eight turnovers. Twenty-one of the points for the Mavericks (5-3) came from reserves.

"Nothing like a good slice of humble pie for your Christmas," Mavericks coach Scott Cross said. "Oklahoma State played a very good game. They showed how good they were tonight."

Markel Brown scored 17 points and Phil Forte added 13 for Oklahoma State to a 69-44 victory over Texas-Arlington on Wednesday night.

Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart both had 10 points and Philip Jurick pulled down 10 rebounds for the Cowboys. Brown and Smart combined for nine steals.

Reserve Jamel Outler had 14 points and Kevin Butler added 11 for the Mavericks (5-3), who committed 31 turnovers.

Texas-Arlington dropped to 5-65 all-time against Big 12 schools, including 0-3 this season. The Mavericks dropped a 63-59 decision to Oklahoma on Nov. 16 and fell 70-54 at Texas on Dec. 1.

"(OSU) has great size at all positions," Cross said. "Texas gave us a hard time with their size and athleticism and Oklahoma State is the same way. I think our guys just got a little scared and tentative offensively. Our 31 turnovers obviously played a part but you have to give (OSU) credit because they defend. Philip Jurick is a big old boy. He can really disrupt things inside."

Jurick, a 6-foot-11 center, scored six points and had eight offensive rebounds. He did not block a shot but disrupted the Mavericks on both ends of the court.

"That was a big part of the scouting report," Jurick said. "They had trouble handling pressure and didn't do too well with double teams, so we embraced that and did it."

Texas-Arlington committed 20 turnovers in the first half, four in the first 4 minutes, and Oklahoma State built a 13-3 advantage on the way to a 36-17 halftime lead.

The visitors did not hit the 20-point mark until Drew Charles' short jumper with 14:20 remaining in the game.

Kirby Gardner's basket put the Cowboys up 46-23 with 10:34 left and the Mavericks got no closer than 16 points the rest of the way.

Forte hit three 3-pointers in the final 6 minutes, the third putting the Cowboys up 26 points with just under 4 minutes left.

Four early turnovers by the Mavericks and three 3-pointers helped Oklahoma State build a 13-3 lead in the opening 4 minutes. Thirteen minutes in, Texas-Arlington had 13 turnovers and trailed 25-8. Smart's 3-pointer made it 28-10 with 6 minutes left in the half.

The Mavericks used a 7-0 run to get within 28-17 with 3:29 left in the half. But the Cowboys reeled off eight straight points to end the half with a 36-17 lea. Brown led all scorers at halftime with 13 points.

Oklahoma State improved to 178-4 against non-conference opponents at home since 1987.

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