New York Colleges: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Rapid Reaction: VA Tech 59, OK State 57

November, 25, 2011
NEW YORK -- A quick take on Virginia Tech's 59-57 win over Oklahoma State on Friday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

What it means: Virginia Tech takes third place in the NIT Season Tip-Off, after giving No. 5 Syracuse a tough game in the semifinals on Wednesday night. The Hokies are now 4-1 on the season.

Oklahoma State leaves New York City with a pair of losses over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The Cowboys are now 3-2.

The skinny: It was a sloppy first half, with both teams shooting less than 38 percent from the field. Oklahoma State jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Virginia Tech was not down for very long. A 14-0 run by the Hokies turned a 9-7 deficit into a 21-12 advantage. Virginia Tech led by as many as 11, and 32-23 at halftime.

Virginia Tech kept Oklahoma State at bay for most of the second half, but the Cowboys finally cut the deficit to two, 53-51, on a Jean-Paul Olukemi bucket with 3:35 remaining. But they were never able to get over the hump. A couple of potential game-tying shots were off the mark, Markel Brown made a key turnover on another potential game-tying possession, and Virginia Tech pulled this one out.

Center stage: Erick Green had a team-high 18 points for Virginia Tech, shooting 6-for-12 from the field. Freshman Dorian Finney-Smith had 10 points and 14 rebounds, including eight off the offensive glass.

Brown had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State, but made that critical turnover late. Olukemi chipped in 13 points. Freshman Le'Bryan Nash, ranked the No. 10 high school senior in the country by ESPN last year, went scoreless in just 11 minutes after scoring a team-high 16 against Stanford two days ago.

How 'bout that: Virginia Tech shot just 18-for-57 (31.6 percent) in this game, yet managed to win. How? Well, let's start with a 45-37 advantage on the boards, including 21-14 on the offensive end. The Hokies also shot 30 free throws, making 19 (the Cowboys were 14-for-21), and held the Cowboys to 20-for-49 shooting from the field (40.8 percent).

What's next: Virginia Tech gets back to work quickly, hosting St. Bonaventure on Sunday at 6 p.m. Oklahoma State will host Tulsa on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Stanford 82, OK State 67

November, 23, 2011
NEW YORK -- A quick take on Stanford's 82-67 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

What it means: Stanford improves to 5-0 on the season, and advances to the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game. Johnny Dawkins' squad is the lone remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12.

Oklahoma State, playing its first men's basketball game since the tragic deaths of women's head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in a plane crash last week, drops its first game of the season. Travis Ford's Cowboys are now 3-1.

The skinny: If you like offense, you'd have loved the first half of this game. Both the Cardinal and the Cowboys were throwing the ball in the bucket at high frequency. There were six ties in the first 20 minutes, the last being at 29. After that, Stanford closed on a 17-6 run, capped off by an Anthony Brown trey at the buzzer for a 46-35 lead at the break.

Stanford opened the second half on a 12-0 run, extending its lead to 58-35, and never looked back. The Cardinal really picked it up on the defensive end, limiting the Cowboys to just two points over the first eight minutes after intermission. Stanford led by as many as 28, and won going away.

Shooting stars: Six-foot-eight senior forward Josh Owens was perfect in the first half for Stanford -- 8-for-8 from the floor, 1-for-1 from the foul line, 17 points. He finished with a game-high 21. Sophomore guard Aaron Bright added 15, 13 of them coming in the first half. Freshman guard Chasson Randle scored 17, all of them coming in the second half.

Highly touted freshman Le'Bryan Nash -- the No. 10-ranked high school senior in the country last year according to ESPN's rankings -- scored 16 points to lead Oklahoma State.

On target: Stanford's shooting numbers were good across the board. As a team the Cardinal shot 47.5 percent from the field (29-for-61), 47.4 percent from 3-point range (9-for-19) and 71.4 percent from the foul line (15-for-21).

Stanford also outrebounded Oklahoma State 40 to 29, including an 11-to-5 advantage on the offensive glass. One bright spot for the Cowboys was their 12 blocked shots.

What's next: Stanford will play the winner of No. 5 Syracuse and Virginia Tech in Friday's championship game, at 5 p.m. Oklahoma State will play the loser of that matchup in the consolation game at 2:30 p.m.

W2W4: Stanford vs. Oklahoma State

November, 23, 2011
Here are three things to watch for in Wednesday night's game between Stanford (4-0) and Oklahoma State (3-0), the first semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.

The game starts at 7 p.m., and will air on ESPN2, with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy behind the microphones.

DEVASTATING BLOW: This will be the Oklahoma State men's team's first game since last week's tragedy, in which women's head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in a plane crash while on a recruiting trip to Arkansas. Expect the Cowboys to be very emotional, especially head coach Travis Ford.

SCOUTING REPORT: Oklahoma State, picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 in the conference's preseason poll, won its first two games comfortably but had to rally late against Texas-San Antonio last week to earn its trip to New York. Six-foot freshman guard Cezar Guerrero hit eight 3-pointers, including a game-tying trey with 8.8 seconds left in regulation, in a 90-85 overtime win.

Guerrero is leading the team in scoring, at 15.7 points per game. But the Cowboys' most talented freshman is 6-foot-7 forward Le'Bryan Nash, who was ranked the No. 10 high school senior in the country by ESPN last year. Nash is currently third on the team in scoring, averaging 12 points per game, but is expected to be a star.

THE OTHER SIDE: Stanford, picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12 in the conference's preseason poll, has won all four of its games by double digits. Coach Johnny Dawkins, the former longtime assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, is starting a very young backcourt in 5-foot-11 sophomore Aaron Bright and 6-foot-1 freshman Chasson Randle. Bright is leading the team in scoring (13.8 ppg), while Randle -- ranked the No. 60 high school senior in the country a year ago -- is currently third (8.8 ppg).

The Cardinal also boast some size in the post, led by 6-foot-8 senior Josh Owens, who is averaging 12.3 points per contest.