BOSTON -- Koko Archibong wouldn't talk to reporters after Friday's game against Oklahoma State, but it wasn't too hard to figure out what he was feeling.
Archibong -- one of Penn's best players and hardest workers -- had a tough time at the FleetCenter Friday.
Archibong only scored seven points on 2-of-9 shooting, including a 1-of-5 clip from behind the arc. Three minutes into the game, he missed a dunk off a perfect give-and-go pass from Ugonna Onyekwe.
Archibong may have been the difference in the game.
Oklahoma State's stifling perimeter defense took Penn's guards out of the ballgame. Quakers point guard Andrew Toole played a solid first half, but Eddie Sutton's crew really clamped down the defense after the intermission.
It was clear from the start that the Quakers would need its inside players to carry them if they were to have a chance at victory.
Onyewke did the job, playing the game of his life. He poured in 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Perhaps even more impressive, the once-shaky free throw shooter was a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe.
But Penn's other forward did not get the job done. Unlike the guards, Archibong got some good looks at the basket, but his shots just did not fall.
Toward the end of the first half, Archibong took a three-pointer from his favorite spot on the floor, a shot that he regularly hits.
A basket there would have given the Quakers a 32-24 lead. But the ball rimmed out and the Cowboys scored four points on their next trip down the floor to pull within a point.
Oklahoma State ended up leading at halftime, 36-35, after a well-played first half for Penn.
Archibong, like the rest of the Quakers, also struggled on the boards. The Cowboys outrebounded the Quakers, 29-21.
With time running down in the game and Penn hanging on by a thread, Oklahoma State forward Ivan McFarlin iced the victory with two huge offensive rebounds off missed free throws.
"People in the Big 12 know that I'm a great rebounder," said McFarlin, who hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds. "I just wanted to show the world that I'm a great rebounder as well."
Sadly, Archibong could not show the world all that he was capable of.
Last year, too, he struggled in the NCAA tournament. Although scoring 16 points, Archibong shot just 5-of-17 from the field in an 82-75 loss to California.
It's unfair to say that Archibong is not a big-game player. He did, after all, score a game-high 21 points in last year's playoff victory against Yale to decide the Ivy League's automatic bid.
Tournament games aside, Penn fans should remember Archibong as a tremendous Ivy League player, perhaps even one of the best Penn players in recent memory.Comments powered by Disqus
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