McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Sports

February 28, 2013

Oklahoma State men’s basketball — preview

McALESTER — Before the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team started the season that has the Cowboys ranked in the top 15 and one game out of first in the Big 12 Conference, they were delivered a big blow.

It was believed Brian Williams, easily the best defender the Cowboys had on the roster, would be lost for the year with a wrist injury to his non-shooting hand.
The bleak forecast was a little off and the redshirt sophomore from Baton Rouge, La., suited up for OSU amid a seven-game win streak that put the Pokes back in conference title contention.
While Williams didn’t have any drastic impact on the roster when he initially returned — only playing a handful of minutes while still favoring his right hand to avoid his injured left hand — the 6-foot-5 guard/forward still was able to bring a boost off the bench.
“Brian clamps down and locks up on defense. He gives us more pressure in practice, which prepares us for the games,” OSU redshirt sophomore forward Michael Cobbins said prior to the Bedlam game against Oklahoma on Feb. 16. “When he gets into the game, he brings energy off the bench and just locks people down on defense.”
Williams has seen his minutes progressively increase, averaging 14.3 minutes in the seven games he’s played in since his return.
His biggest contribution since returning from rehab came in Saturday’s 73-57 road win at West Virginia. With starting point guard Marcus Smart — a solid defender in his own right — sitting nearly all of the first half with three fouls, Williams was called upon help fill the gap and played a season-high 22 minutes.
“It felt pretty good,” said Williams, who scored a season-high 13 points in the victory. “... Today it’s almost to where I was when I finished the season last year, so I’m feeling real confident about my progress.”

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