Lindy Waters has become an interesting figure for Oklahoma State basketball. He’s not necessarily polarizing, and yet he seems to attract a good deal of rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. Some think he’s emblematic of OSU’s lack of depth and talent. Maybe this is true, but others (including me) think he’s a fantastic basketball player who can be a real boon to the right team in the right spot.
On Saturday against West Virginia we saw that. Waters’ sweet stroke was on display over the final 91 seconds as he scored six of OSU’s final 10 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
— Boone Pickens State (@BP_State) February 10, 2018
Waters made shots from both corners on OSU’s side of the floor in the last minute and a half. The first came with a man in his dish, and a “no no no no no!” shot flipped and caused fist pumps from those in orange.
The dagger was much of the same. OSU was down 86-84 with only 20 seconds left when Kendall Smith missed a jumper, got his own rebound and found a backpedaling Waters in the corner.
“You have to go get it,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins of the offensive rebound that led to Waters’ go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
Lindy Waters buries WVU late. What an ending in Morgantown. pic.twitter.com/Bk0NrvRBfK
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) February 10, 2018
“The one before, J.C. (Jevon Carter) blocks the guy out; they called a foul, which would have given us the ball back. And then this one, we don’t rebound,” Higgins said. “We batted it around a little bit, but we don’t rebound it.”
As soon as Smith fed Waters, Carter closed out on him. But it wasn’t timely enough, and Waters buried his second 3 in just over a minute.
“We spread the floor out a little bit more when we lost [Cameron] McGriff,” said Mike Boynton.
“We went to a smaller lineup because we didn’t have the big body that I felt comfortable with in that situation. What it did was, it gave us another shooter on the court. So you have Waters, Shine and Carroll. We were putting Solomon in ball screens and spacing the floor out and making sure that those guys understood that it’s not for you to shoot a shot, but make a good decision.
“In that situation, Kendall made the right play and got it to an open teammate for a good shot.”
He did, and Waters knocked it down. It was his 32nd 3-pointer on his 97th attempt on the year. The percentage is not high right now, but they always look like they’re going to fall. Sort of the opposite of Kendall Smith.
Not enough will be made of Waters’ decision to find the 3-point line in that situation and Smith’s vision to see him. It was the homeless man’s version of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals when Ray Allen blindly found the 3-point line before hitting the biggest shot of his life.
Obviously Waters’ bucket didn’t mean close to as much as Allen’s did, but it was a similarly-impressive and heady play. And it might mean the difference between Oklahoma State playing in the NIT and NCAA Tournament come the middle of March.