COLUMBIA — Momentum is the mass of an object multiplied by its velocity. In that case, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are either large, or moving fast.
The Cowboys take on the Missouri men’s basketball team tonight at Mizzou Arena. And they have momentum in the sports’ sense, where the word is defined by the feeling in your stomach when things are going your way, or, on the other end, when you can’t stop your opponent.
“They’re playing good basketball,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said of the Cowboys. “They’re one of the hotter teams. They’re playing with a lot of unity.”
“Hot” is a jumping-off point to describe Oklahoma State’s recent play.
The Cowboys were 2-7 in Big 12 Conference play heading into a stretch where itplayed Baylor, Texas A&M and Kansas, three of the top five teams in the conference. The Aggies and Jayhawks were both nationally ranked, and Baylor has been in and out of the top 25 this season.
But Oklahoma State won all three contests, behind the play of junior guard Byron Eaton who averaged more than 22 points in those games. The Cowboys aren’t going to hang itshat on those impressive victories, though.
“We set a goal that we want to win seven in a row to close out the regular season,” Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said during the Big 12 Conference coaches’ teleconference Monday. “We’ve won three of those and we’ve got four to go.”
Eaton’s impressive play of late has snagged Anderson’s attention.
“The way Eaton is playing right now, I think it shows a lot about that basketball team,” Anderson said. “When your leader is playing that well, and you’ve got (senior forward Marcus) Dove and some guys that have been through the wars, I think they’re playing some good basketball.”
The Cowboys’ tear added its most impressive victim Saturday when they upset then-No. 4 Kansas by one point at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“They’re going to have a lot of confidence coming in, coming off a big win,” guard Keon Lawrence said after the Tigers’ win against Colorado on Saturday. “They’re hot right now, they’re going to come in feeling good about themselves. We just got to come out. You know, we had a week off, so we were a little sluggish (in the Colorado game) but hopefully we got it out of us tonight (Saturday). So we got to come out and be ready for them.”
Sutton is hoping Lawrence is correct in his statement about confidence, and that his team doesn’t have a let down after a big win.
“Hopefully (the win over Kansas) will give our guys a lot of confidence,” Sutton said. “When we play well, we can play with the best teams in the country. Granted it was on our home court and we had a great crowd there Saturday and that always makes a huge difference.”
At times this season the Tigers’ schedule has been packed with action, including a stretch from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 where they played three games in six days. They had a week off before Saturday’s game against Colorado, but now its back to having a short time between games, something the team isn’t too upset about.
“It feels good,” Lawrence said of having another game so quick. “I know everybody on our team was just waiting for us to play a game. I think we were getting tired of practice the whole week. I think we should be all right.”