OKLAHOMA CITY - Because of a delayed flight, the La Salle basketball team did not arrive at its Oklahoma City hotel until 4 a.m. yesterday.
The Explorers' shooting touch arrived much later.
La Salle misfired on 18 of its first 20 field-goal attempts, and Oklahoma State cruised to a 77-62 victory before a Ford Center crowd of 8,681 in the second game of the All-College Classic.
The Cowboys, of the Big Twelve, improved to 10-1 with the win, while La Salle fell to 7-4.
Leading scorer Rodney Green was especially handcuffed by the Oklahoma State defense, which flipped back and forth between man-to-man and zone. Green, who came in averaging almost 19 points a game, was held without a field goal through the opening 14 minutes.
He did lead La Salle with 22 points, on 7-of-17 shooting, but much of his scoring came when the game was no longer in doubt.
Early on, the Explorers tried to get the 6-foot-5 Green and fellow guard Kimmani Barrett (6-6) going by posting them on the block against Oklahoma State guards Ray Penn and Keiton Page, who are both 5-9.
But frenetic Cowboys double teams prevented the Explorers from capitalizing on the size advantage and La Salle struggled.
"They did a great job, and we didn't respond well," said Explorers coach John Giannini. "If you're not used to that level of defensive intensity, it takes you by shock a little bit. I think that's what happened to us."
Still, even after falling behind by 23-7 to open the first half, the Explorers managed to keep things interesting. Yves Mekongo's steal and score sliced the deficit to 33-26 with a few seconds to go in the half.
Just before the halftime buzzer, Oklahoma State guard James Anderson, who scored a game-high 28 points, drained a 25-foot trey from the wing to put the Cowboys up by 36-26.
La Salle freshman Aaric Murray scored all 10 of his points in a row in the second half.
La Salle's flight to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was delayed when the plane's crew members showed up late because of snowy weather. By the time the Explorers arrived in Dallas, there were no more flights going to Oklahoma City. So, La Salle had to rent a bus for a four-hour trip north up Interstate 35.
"I hate to use the cliche 'no excuses,' " Giannini said. "But that doesn't help your team."