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Excessive number of fouls overshadows OSU's loss to UCF

Feb. 28—The crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena was fuming at the officiating during Oklahoma State's 77-71 loss to UCF on Wednesday.

The referees blew their whistles 54 times for fouls. It was the most of any OSU game in seven years.

Javon Small, Brandon Garrison and Eric Dailey Jr — the three best Cowboys — all fouled out.

"It's hard when fouls are being called like they were tonight," Dailey said. "When the game is being called like that, there's only so much you can control."

That's not to excuse OSU's play, though.

The Cowboys led 36-24 at the 4:37 mark in the first half and gave up a 34-15 run over the ensuing 15 minutes.

John-Michael Wright was the only Cowboy to make a 3-pointer. He was 5-for-13 and the rest of the team was 0-for-7.

The team also lost the rebounding battle, 40-27, and once again struggled with the late-game free throws.

"We let one slip. That was a game we should have won," Wright said. "The season is coming down to an end. We need to salvage as much as we can ... Kansas City is right around the corner."

OSU (12-16, 4-11) is now locked into a sub-.500 record for the second time in six seasons. There are three regular season games left before the Big 12 tournament starts on March 12 in Kansas City, Missouri.

OSU is projected to rematch UCF in the first round.