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Oklahoma State Basketball

No. 5 Houston Defensive Display Puts Oklahoma State Away Early

February 6, 2024

The Fertitta Center in Houston has been a rough place for visiting ting teams all season with UH a perfect 12-0 this season. You can make that 13-0 as Houston used their No. 1 defensive efficiency top defensive standing in the nation, and their No. 2 ranking in the nation in forcing turnovers to put the young Oklahoma State Cowboys away and win 79-63.

The first five minutes of the game were competitive as senior guard and team leader Javon Small nailed a three-pointer from the deep wing by the Houston bench to make it 6-5 and then moments later was at the free throw line and made both for a 7-6 Oklahoma State lead. It did not last long and that would be the last lead for the Cowboys.

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Sharp made several key baskets in the first half and finished with 16 points.

At the 14:27 mark the Cougars sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp threw in a three from the wing and a 9-7 UH advantage. That is when the first half turnovers forced by Houston started multiplying and showing up on the scoreboard. The sixth turnover of the first half was a travel call on Eric Dailey Jr. 

On the other end off of an offensive rebound freshman post Joseph Tugler hit a short jumper to make it 13-8. Almost immediately the seventh turnover resulted on an offensive foul by Mike Marsh. This time Tugler drove to the hole and banked the ball in for a 15-8 lead and at that point a 9-0 Houston run. From that point on the Cougars extended the lead outscoring Oklahoma State 25-13 and a 40-21 halftime advantage. 

After an eighth turnover on a shot clock violation Mylik Wilson fouled on the drive and knowing it threw up a prayer high off the glass and got it. He added the free throw for 18-8. Just the highlights and after Brandon Garrison missed with hands seemingly all over to try to shoot through, Cougars point guard Jamal Shead hit a jumper to make it 20-8.

“We’ve got to cut down on the turnovers,” Small told John Holcomb on the Cowboys Radio Network. “With a physical team like them you can’t turn the ball over. They were the more aggressive team tonight.”

“That’s what makes them really good is on defense and on offense they move so effortlessly with the ball, without the ball, on offense and defense, to block out, to rebound, to defend, to get to the basket or to the open spot, said Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton afterwards. “Hopefully, that is something our young team can learn from watching them.”

Defense and rebounding was difficult for the Pokes in part because UH has three players in Joseph Tugler, J’Won Roberts, and Ja’Vier Francis that combine for over a 22-foot wing span. That is length. Those three players have a combined heighth of 19-10. 

With the width and heighth, the turnovers continued as there were 11 in the first half. Wilson got a steal and then layed the ball in on the other end for a 26-13 lead, the first time UH doubled up the Pokes. Shead had 17 points to lead the Cougars at the half and would finish with 23 drove the middle of the lane and put up a picture perfect lay in for a 28-13 lead. It just kept going as every possession for Oklahoma State was a painful experience in trying to get a good shot. 

“Shead controlled the game for 20 minutes,” Boynton told John Holcomb in the radio broadcast.

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Wright releases a shot at Houston.

The Cowboys ended up with only 17 turnovers, so they took better care of the ball in the second half. OSU shot 40.5 percent from the field but only 23.8 percent on 24 three-point tries. Houston only had 10 turnovers, outrebounded the Cowboys 33-27, and shot 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point arch. 

Sharp had 16 points and Wilson 12 points off the bench to lead the Cougars in scoring. The Cowboys were led by Small’s 18 points and John-Michael Wright had 13.

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Kelvin Sampson gets tossed in the second half.

The second half all you need to know about was the Kelvin Sampson meltdown, or was it? Sampson seemed agitated with the officials and, in this case, the lack of whistles on physical play he perceived as fouls. Finally, when the Cowboys Garrison pushed off on a lay up and Sampson exploded coming all the way from the Houston bench all the way on the court to the other end when the players from both sides looked stunned to see him on the floor. 

It was a double technical and Javon Small made three of the four free throws as Sampson made his way slowly to the tunnel and his exit. Houston was still up 49-32 after the free throws and Sampson’s son Kellen got 15 minutes in a sure win situation to show off his presence as a potential head coach. The thought in Houston is that Kellen could follow Kelvin when he decides to retire his whistle. 

“When he got ejected the crowd got juiced up,” Small said in the postgame show on the Oklahoma State Radio Network. “I hit three out of four free throws and if we could have got a stop and scored then we could have got back in it, but we didn’t get the stop and we turned the ball over.”

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Jamal Shead after a basket celebrates. He finished with 23 points.

It didn’t take the Cougars long to recoup the points off of Sampson’s technical as Ramon Walker Jr. grabbed an offensive rebound and reset the offense with a pass to Sharp, who nailed the three-pointer to make it 52-32. For good measure former Baylor sharpshooter L.J. Cryer, who transferred to Houston got a steal from Garrison and then hit Shead for the lay in and a 55-32 lead. 

Houston put it in cruise as Kellen Sampson continued to take his test drive with the high-powered Cougars.  

Tonight he got to pick up the save as his dad gets another win, No. 752 of his career and the Cougars become the first Big 12 team to seven wins on this season. They are now 7-3 in the Big 12. Meanwhile, OKlahoma State falls to 2-8 in the league and 10-13 overall. The Cowboys will play Bedlam on Saturday at Norman with the tip at 6 p.m.

Discussion from...

No. 5 Houston Defensive Display Puts Oklahoma State Away Early

692 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 17 days ago by WichitaCowboy
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Houston looked good. Real good. Long way to go. Real long way.
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More of the same the five minutes I watched. GO POKES!!!
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I don't think Eddie Sutton would allow one of his teams to shoot 21 3 pointers and make 5 of them.

Eddie stressed team play not NBA style of "shoot from anywhere basketball." How about having Keiton Page take

take over the rest of the season. Keiton would show the players how to play as a team!
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The vast majority of our turnovers are due to our frantic, out-of-control, free-lance, dribble, dribble, dribble, one-on-one, playground style of play. The only player I see (and then, only briefly) who attempts to play a motion/pass the ball style is Dow. But he rarely touches the ball because he is ignored by his team mates. Eddie would have a quick hook with anyone who routinely fails to take care of the ball and turns it over in a helter-skelter manner. There is obviously no coaching going on in practice. Mike is a pleasant guy, but it is time for a change.
Class 1980
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With a team like Houston playing physical defense and challenging every rebound, the refs start swallowing the whistle. In the Big 12, no team is going to allow that without pushing back. When OSU finally started getting more physical, Sampson got mad. I'm not saying Houston wasn't the better team, but there were a lot of non-calls for Houston and phantom calls against Pokes - that Shead fastbreak layup where McBride pulled up and separated, but still got a foul called was crazy and should have been overturned. Fran even said the fouls were out of control, but teams like Houston and refs like last night encourage it. My prediction is Houston loses in the NCAA tourney when they face a non-Big 12 ref crew that calls fouls and a team that is taught to step in front of someone and take a charge. (Worst kind of basketball watch, but teams like Baylor love it.)
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