Pokes visit Bulls in battle of unbeatens

Tampa, FL ( - The Oklahoma State Cowboys and South Florida Bulls will both put their perfect records on the line on Monday night when they meet up at the USF Sun Dome.

Oklahoma State's season began with four consecutive home games, and as expected, the team is off to a perfect start. All four of its victories have come in blowout fashion, with its latest being the most impressive as the Pokes bested nationally-ranked Memphis on Nov. 19, 101-80.

USF is also off to an outstanding start with wins in each of its four bouts, including three at the Sun Dome. The Bulls most recently hosted Stetson last Friday and came away with a 72-63 triumph.

The two teams met for the first time last season, with OSU winning at home, 61-49.

The Cowboys cruised to a dominating win over a very good Memphis team in their latest contest by putting forth great efforts from the field (30-of-61), 3- point range (10-of-22) and the foul line (31-of-40). Marcus Smart dazzled with a career-best performance, as he drained 11-of-21 field goal attempts (including five 3-pointers) and 12-of-16 from the charity stripe en route to 39 points, while also adding five steals and four assists. Markel Brown (20 points) and Brian Williams (15 points, eight rebounds) were also impressive.

OSU has dominated at both ends of the court this season. Not only does the club score 102 points per game (second-most in the nation) on 52.2 percent field goal shooting, but it also holds opponents to a meager 36.8 percent from the floor for 61.2 points per tilt. Smart has proven that he is one of the best players in the nation by tallying 20.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.3 steals per game. Brown (16.5 ppg) and Phil Forte (15.8 ppg) are outstanding complementary parts, as are Le'Bryan Nash (11.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Williams (11.3 ppg).

Although the Bulls entered halftime of their latest bout tied with Stetson, they were able to pull away for the nine-point win thanks to a strong second half. They were outshot from the field, 52.8 percent to 41.7 percent, but went 25-of-33 from the free-throw line while staying out of foul trouble themselves, as the Hatters were only 3-of-5 at the stripe. They also benefited from forcing 18 turnovers, which turned into 25 points. Corey Allen, Jr. led the way at both the offensive (19 points) and defensive (six steals) ends of the court. Anthony Collins registered 15 points and six assists, while Martino Brock chipped in 10 points.

USF has made balanced efforts a trend this season, as it boasts positive margins in scoring (+14.8), rebounding (+1.3) and turnovers (+3.5). Allen, Jr. (16.5 ppg) has been efficient across the board with a .524 field goal percentage to go with 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Victor Rudd (15.0 ppg) and Collins (11.0 ppg) are also off to strong starts.