Austin, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Big 12 Conference teams hoping for a return to the win column square off on Wednesday night, as the Oklahoma State Cowboys come calling on the 25th-ranked Texas Longhorns.
For the second straight season, Oklahoma State lost the Bedlam Series to bitter rival Oklahoma, as the Sooners knocked off the Cowboys in Stillwater last Saturday, 64-56. It was the second loss in the last three games for OSU, which enters this fray at 14-7 overall and 4-5 in conference. The Pokes haven't strung together consecutive wins since knocking off Memphis and Middle Tennessee from Dec. 13-16, going just 5-6 since.
Texas is in the midst a three-game losing streak, with its most recent setback occurring last Saturday against Lone Star State rival Baylor on the road, 83-60. It was the most lopsided win for the Bears over the Longhorns since taking an 84-60 decision on March, 5, 1988 in Waco. Texas is 9-3 at home this season.
Texas owns a 46-40 advantage in the all-time series with Oklahoma State, but the Pokes have won five of the last six meetings. The 'Horns have been victorious in 27 of the 39 previous encounters in Austin.
Oklahoma State held a seven-point lead at the halftime in its recent clash with Oklahoma, but couldn't hold on as the team was outscored in the final frame by a 39-24 margin. Phil Forte scored 15 points to pace the Pokes, and he was joined in double figures by Le'Bryan Nash with 12 points and Anthony Hickey with 10 points to go with his team-high eight rebounds. OSU finished with only five assists on 19 field goals, and it shot just 39.6 percent from the field, which included a woeful 4-of-19 performance from 3-point range. Conversely, the Sooners drained six treys and forced 16 turnovers off which they scored 24 points.
Forte (17.3 ppg) and Nash (16.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are the only double-digit scorers for a club that is producing 68.2 ppg while permitting just 59.6 ppg. Hickeys contributes 8.6 ppg as the third-leading scorer, and he does his best to keep his higher-profile teammates moving forward as he hands out 3.7 apg. The Cowboys stifle their opponents at nearly every turn, allowing them to connect on only 38.4 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes their 31.5 percent performance out on the perimeter. They also force more than 14 turnovers per outing.
Jonathan Holmes poured in 17 points, despite missing six of his seven 3-point attempts, and Isaiah Taylor notched his first career double-double with 16 points and career-high 10 assists, but those efforts went for naught as Texas was blown out at Baylor over the weekend. The Longhorns missed their first 11 shots, while the Bears started 5-of-5 from the field to take a 12-0 lead. UT's Cameron Ridley posted his first double-double of the season by logging 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the 'Horns made good on only 38.6 percent of their total shots, missing the mark on 21 of their 26 long-range launches in the process. Baylor wound up shooting 48.4 percent from the floor, knocking down 12-of-22 3-point tries, and both teams were unselfish as each logged more than 20 assists in the game.
Taylor nets 13.4 ppg and dishes out 4.3 apg to spearhead the Longhorns' offensive attack, which results in a scoring average of 69.9 ppg. Holmes (12.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Myles Turner (11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Javan Felix (10..2 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for a Texas squad that has played very well on defense for the most part this season, yielding just 60.1 ppg. Opponents are converting a mere 36.4 percent of their field goal attempts, and they are being throttled on the glass by 10.7 rpg -- that differential ranking the 'Horns second in the nation. The team has done a nice job protecting the basketball, coughing it up only 9.7 times per game, while at the same goading the opposition into more than 13 miscues per contest.