Patience is a virtue.
The No. 8 Oklahoma State Cowboys learned that when they scored 117 points in their last contest, and will look to do more of the same Tuesday against Utah Valley at 7 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
OSU is coming off a season-opening win against Mississippi Valley State in which it scored its highest point total since 2009.
“It was because they were patient,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “What our guys have to understand is you can play a very up-tempo style of basketball but still be patient. It’s not run-and-gun, it’s not out of control. You can still put pressure on the other team’s defense.”
The Cowboys play a 1-0 Utah Valley team that faces the quick turnaround from a Monday night game in Utah before flying to Stillwater.
Although that will likely make for a hectic two days for the Wolverines, Ford said it has benefits, as well.
“You probably don’t think too much about it,” he said. “You can learn very quickly form your mistakes. A lot of times you learn so much in a game you can turn around and correct it very quickly.”
For OSU, this contest will represent a stark contrast from the last win against an athletic MVSU team that had a tendency to run the floor.
Utah Valley tends to play a controlled, set-oriented style that will challenge OSU’s ability to control the tempo.
“They’re going to try to slow the game down a little bit more,” Ford said.
“It’s a good test for our team going from one style of play to a totally different style of play.”
That approach may put more pressure on the Cowboys to control the post.
It will be a welcome test for sophomore forward Kamari Murphy, who missed the season opener with a mild shoulder injury. With fellow post player Michael Cobbins in foul trouble, OSU allowed 28 points in the paint against a weaker opponent.
Murphy expects to play Tuesday and Ford said he hopes for him to come through as an impact player in terms of defense and rebounding.
“He’s to a point kind of the x-factor for us,” Ford said. “We need him playing his role.”
Murphy experienced an up-and-down freshman season, but has already displayed an improved offensive game and aggressive mindset as he scored double-digit points in each of OSU’s two exhibition games.
“I think last year it was all a shock for me, going from starting to not playing to all these different things,” Murphy said. “I think this year I’m complacent with my role and know the things I have to do to get us where we want to be.”
And after an all-around solid performance last week, OSU is looking to see more of the same Tuesday, especially on offense.
“Some positive reinforcement will probably create some more good results from some of these guys,” Ford said.