With 18 seconds left against UTSA and OSU down 6, the following Twitter exchange took place…
Ask, and ye shall receive…
OSU radio color commentator John Holcomb remarked that if he (UTSA’s Igor Nujic) only makes one and OSU can get a quick basket, there might still be hope.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
A freshman put the Cowboys on his shoulders Wednesday night…
…and it WASN’T LeBryan Nash.
Cezar Guerrero refused to lose, tieing an OSU freshman record with 29 pts and willing the Cowboys to an improbable victory over a very good UTSA squad coached by former Cowboy guard Brooks Thompson.
Guerrero’s traditional 3 pt play, steal, and 3pt shot in a span of 4 seconds tied the game with 8 seconds remaining, eventually sending it to OT, where he continued to carry the Cowboys.
OSU trailed by 11 with 2:12 remaining in regulation and JPO at the line for 2. He made both, starting a 17-6 run that forced OT. Missed in the Guerrero heroics were JPO’s 6 consecutive FT’s in that 2:12.
Guerrero, winner of the McDonald’s AA 3 point contest last summer, showed his form, hitting 8 3′s, including the shot that tied the score and 2 more in OT when OSU found themselves trailing by 4 with 2:05 left.
To his credit, LeBryan Nash fought his way through his offensive struggles to add 18 valuable pts, but his defensive lapses were one of the big reasons OSU found themselves in such a deep hole with little time left.
UTSA gave the Cowboy defense fits all night, consistently beating them off the dribble and maneuvering for open 3′s, but the magic seemed to disappear in crunch time. The Roadrunners squandered a similar lead against ORU the night before, only to survive on a buzzer beater.
On the other end of the floor, the trapping zone frustrated and slowed down the Cowboys. OSU struggled to find any offensive flow and often settled for 3′s…thank heavens they made 14 of those. While UTSA shot better from the floor and behind the arc (42% & 44%), and made one more FT at the line (23 vs 22), OSU out rebounded the Roadrunners 48-29 and took 6 more shots from the floor (15 more from behind the arc).
The Cowboys would have learned from this win or lose, but the positives that come out of the win are much preferred. Guerrero is going to see more and more time if he continues to be such a spark plug, and may work his way into the starting lineup. Nash will take patience, as he learns the hard fact that there are lots of guys at the D-1 level that can play…you’re not in HS anymore, Dorothy. And he better figure out how to play defense and make his teammates better when his offensive game is off.
And this last little nugget on Guerrero…remember Weeden’s line to the starters during the 2009 Colorado game…”Protect me, and I will pick these guys apart.” And he backed it up. Check out this quote from Coach Ford, courtesy of Anthony Slater & the Daily O’Collegian… “People were leaving and fans were leaving and I was ready to go with them,” coach Travis Ford said. “But (Guerrero) kept saying in the huddle to everybody, ‘We are going to win this thing; we are going to win it.” And he backed it up.
Not saying he’s Weeden, but leadership is leadership, period.
The other thing I take away from this game is that this team is not only deep, it is flexible. What I mean is that Ford can go a lot of ways with the players he has, as we witnessed the smaller lineup at the end of the game and OT completely turn things around. It will be intriguing to see how Ford uses that depth and flexibility as the season progresses.
No doubt these Cowboys are athletic and FAST…but speed can be negated by good shooting and sound defense. OSU will need to improve in the half court on both ends to keep this from being a totally up and down, frustrating season as we watch the youngsters grow.
Would I say definitively that GIA will once again rock…mmmmm…..no. But there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel, and Guerrero showed us a little ways down the path.
These next 4 weekends are going to be fun…
- Friday night FB @ Iowa St on TV
- Friday BB in person @ MSG
- Fly home for Bedlam with family
- Saturday (12/10) BB in person at MSG again!
This is a LOT of fun right now to be an OSU Cowboy!!!!