Hornets hit road hoping to sting seventh-ranked Cowboys

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Updated: 12/17/2013 10:46 am

Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Playing just their second home game in the last month, the seventh-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys will welcome the Delaware State Hornets to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Tuesday night.

Delaware State, which operates out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, has started the season slowly with losses in eight of its first 10 games. The Hornets are currently losers of three in a row, most recently falling to Howard on Sunday, 64-62 in overtime, to dip to 0-2 in conference play.

Oklahoma State has proven in the early going to be one of the nation's elite teams, as its only loss in 10 tries came against nationally-ranked Memphis in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic on Dec. 1 (73-68). Since then, the Cowboys have won back-to-back games, defeating South Carolina at home (79-52) before taking down Louisiana Tech in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City on Saturday, 70-55.

This matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the Hornets and the Cowboys.

The Hornets led their latest game by double-digits midway through the second half before Howard made a late charge to tie the game in the final minute of regulation, and they eventually fell on the wrong end of a two-point decision in overtime after falling victim to another clutch bucket by Howard. The squad shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the loss, including 4-of-19 from 3- point range. Kendal Williams was impressive with 19 points, while Kendall Gray and Casey Walker netted 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, Delaware State's disappointing season has been mired in lackluster offensive performances, as it shoots just 40.5 percent from the field for 60.3 points per game. Tyshawn Bell leads the way with 11.0 points per game, while Walker (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Williams (9.9 ppg) and Gray (9.7 ppg) have all been solid as well.

The Cowboys have seen much better offensive afternoons than they experienced over the weekend, as they shot a modest 43.3 percent from the field (including just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc), but they were still able to cruise to a 15- point victory by holding Louisiana Tech to a lowly 32.8 percent shooting. Le'Bryan Nash was the catalyst with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and he also chipped in on the defensive end with three steals and a blocked shot. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart poured in 13 points apiece, while Kamari Murphy came off the bench to score 10 points.

Oklahoma State has been unquestionably one of the nation's most dominating teams this season, as it shoots just shy of 50 percent from the field for 88.4 points per game with striking margins in the scoring (+23.8) and turnover (+5.6) battles. Smart is making an early push for National Player of the Year with 19.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.0 steals per game. Rounding out the balanced scoring attack are Brown (15.9 ppg), Nash (13.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Phil Forte (13.8 ppg) and Williams (10.1 ppg).

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