Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma State Cowboys will try to remain perfect at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Monday night, as they play host to the Robert Morris Colonials in a non-conference showdown.
Robert Morris had been winners of two straight games prior to its most recent matchup at Oakland on Dec. 22, when it came away with a 100-94 shootout loss. The Colonials are now just 5-8 on the season, which includes just a 2-7 mark on the road, and they will play each of their next four games away from home.
Oklahoma State has been one of the nation's best teams all season long, with its only loss in 12 tries coming to Memphis in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic (73-68). Since that setback, the Cowboys have run off four straight wins, including a strong 78-73 victory over nationally-ranked Colorado on Dec. 21 in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas.
The Cowboys won the only previous meeting between these teams, claiming a 75-67 in December of 1984
The Colonials trailed Oakland by as many as 20 points in the second half of their latest game, and while they were able to cut that deficit to six late, they could not outshoot the Grizzlies in the high-scoring affair, losing despite making good on 52.3 percent of their field goal tries (including 10- of-24 from 3-point range). Leading the way in the setback was Lucky Jones with team-highs 27 points and seven rebounds, shooting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in the process. Charles Oliver (18 points), Jeremiah Worthem (12 points) and Kavon Stewart (11 points, nine rebounds) were all strong off the bench, while Mike McFadden rounded out the balanced effort with 11 points and six boards.
Robert Morris has established a similar theme this season as it showed the last time out, as its high-scoring offense (74.6 ppg) isn't good enough to support a porous defense (78.9 ppg). Karvel Anderson (17.5 ppg) is a prolific 3-point shooter, making 44-of-97 from beyond the arc. Jones brings 15.2 ppg to the table on strong percentages from the field (.484), 3-point range (.435) and the foul line (.833).
The Cowboys led Colorado for the entire second half of their latest game, holding off the Buffaloes and snapping their 10-game winning streak. They shot a lofty 52.1 percent from the field in the victory, which helped make up for the fact that they were handily outrebounded, 41-30. Markel Brown was outstanding, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line for 23 points while also adding 11 rebounds. Marcus Smart was stellar as usual with 18 points, Phil Forte shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for 16 points and Le'Bryan Nash chipped in 15 points, three blocks and two steals.
Oklahoma State is one of the nation's most dominant teams statistically, as it outshoots its opponents from the field, 49.7 percent to 37.9 percent, for an astounding +22.9 scoring margin. Smart, a preseason First Team All-American, has lived up to the hype, as he not only scores 18.0 ppg on 46.3 percent from the field but adds 4.4 rpg, 3.8 apg and 2.8 spg for good measure. Brown (16.3 ppg) is an excellent second option, while Nash (13.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Forte (13.9 ppg, .469 3PT percentage) and Brian Williams (8.8 ppg) round out a deep scoring arsenal.