STILLWATER — Oklahoma State had to do the little things Saturday to pull away for a 62-42 victory over Missouri State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The 23rd-ranked Cowboys had a cold shooting night, which included their worst 3-point shooting game since the Virginia Tech loss, going 4-for-23 (17.4 percent) from long range. Instead, OSU relied on its defense and rebounding to improve to 7-1 on the year.
The Pokes held the Bears to an abysmal 21.4 percent shooting in the first half to jump out to a 34-13 lead at the half. But the Bears bounced back in the second half, which caught the Cowboys off guard, and were able to knock down 12 of 26 shots (46.2 percent).
“From our perspective, in the first half, they were missing a lot of shots. In the second half, they came out shooting a lot again, and give them credit for hitting more of those shots,” OSU forward Michael Cobbins said. “We have to change that though and not let that happen again.”
Part of the rally came with freshman phenom Marcus Smart on the bench. Smart had picked up his fourth foul with 15 minutes left in the contest, relegating him to the bench for 14 minutes until coming in for the final 1:28. He finished with career-low 7 points and went without an assist for the first time this year.
“Anytime Marcus gets into foul trouble that early it’s not good for our team, except for when Kirby Gardner plays like he did today,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “Kirby really stabilized us, played great defense, ran the offense and really gave us a spark.”
The rebounding dominance allowed OSU to overcome that spurt, however. Oklahoma State outrebounded Missouri State 46-22 and held a 15-6 advantage on the offensive boards. The Cowboys got 12 second-chance points thanks to the advantage, while the Bears had zero.