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December 30, 2013
No. 6 Oklahoma State handles RMU
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There are times when a basketball team simply can't simulate the opposition. A team bereft of solid perimeter shooters simply can't replicate the deadly accuracy of the nation's best 3-point shooting teams.
And even a team with decent athleticism like Robert Morris simply can't replicate the off-the-charts athleticism of a team like No. 6 Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys' ability to play out in transition and above the rim opened up their playbook against Robert Morris as Oklahoma State pulled away from the Colonials to win 92-66.
"They're incredibly talented and they have great athleticism. There's no doubt about it," head coach Andrew Toole said on his post-game radio show. "The frustrating thing is we didn't do the things we needed to do to compete with a team like this. We did it in spurts, which is what we've done all year."
Robert Morris tried to stay close and succeeded for much of the first half. After a slow start, and even with big men Mike McFadden and Jeremiah Worthem in foul trouble, Robert Morris' defense helped limit Oklahoma State runs and spark spurts of offense by the Colonials. Oklahoma State rarely led by by more than 12, and RMU cut the deficit to single digits on several occasions.
"We settled in. We were comfortable," Toole said. "We made some shots and got some stops and played with some energy, and all of a sudden it's an eight or nine point game."
Oklahoma State went on a mini-run to take a 46-31 lead at the half, and that was just a sign of things to come. With Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash back out of foul trouble in the second half, Oklahoma State took off. A 13-5 run before the first media timeout, highlighted by a couple flashy alley-oop dunks, helped Oklahoma State pull away.
"If you want to play against good teams, if you want to beat good teams and if you want to be considered a good team, you have to be consistent," Toole said. "You have to be comfortable in any environment regardless of who you're playing against."
Oklahoma State's ability to play above the rim was a significant advantage, as the Cowboys cashed in on a number of alley-oop dunks and a few other jams. That ability was made all the more dangerous by Oklahoma State's ball movement. The Cowboys dished out 27 assists on 32 field goals, picking apart Robert Morris' 2-3 zone defense.
"I thought in the first half we did a lot of good things, and didn't even play that well. But we were in the game," Toole said. "They turned it up in the second half and we didn't match that raised level of intensity."
Robert Morris struggled offensively at times, shooting just 36.1 percent, including a woeful 6-of-27 from 3-point range. The Christmas break appeared to cool off Lucky Jones, who scored 27 points against Oakland, as the junior managed to go just 1-of-11 from the floor for four points. Karvel Anderson also struggled at times but had a better second half to finish with 16 points. Anthony Myers-Pate chipped in 10 points, with eight of them coming at the free throw line.
"Lucky and Karvel didn't shoot it very well in the first half. I think that's one of the things that happens when you play a team with the size and athleticism of Oklahoma State," Toole said. "They made them take some tough ones and you have to give them credit for that."
Robert Morris (5-9) wraps up its non-conference schedule on Saturday when it takes on Alabama.
Officials: Gerry Pollard, David Hall, Roland Simmons
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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