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Bedlam Hoops: Despite New Faces, Boynton Says Emphasis on Bedlam Will ‘Still Be Great’

‘It’s a big deal, and it will be made that way to our team.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — When the Cowboys head down to Norman on Saturday, they’ll have 113 minutes of Bedlam experience. That’s not a lot.

Oklahoma State plays Oklahoma at 6 p.m. Saturday in Lloyd Noble Center. It’s not like the Sooners have a ton more Bedlam experience. They have just 161 combined Bedlam minutes on their roster. Welcome to the transfer portal era.

The Cowboys’ most experienced player in the rivalry would have been Bryce Thompson, but Thompson tore his labrum Jan. 30 against Kansas. OSU coach Mike Boynton confirmed Thursday that Thompson will miss the remainder of the season. John-Michael Wright and Quion Williams are the only players that have had a true taste of the rivalry. Wright played 73 minutes of Bedlam hoops last season. Williams played 31. Three Cowboy walk-ons have combined to play nine total minutes.

Boynton hasn’t ever shied away from this game meaning more than most. Boynton has a 9-5 record in the rivalry and has won seven of the past eight. He said he’ll have guys like Scott Sutton and Barry Hinson talk to the group about what the rivalry means this week as newcomers Javon Small, Brandon Garrison, Connor Dow, Eric Dailey Jr., Jarius Hicklen, Mike Marsh, Jamyron Keller and Justin McBride all take part in their first Bedlam.

“It’ll be new for a lot of guys, but the emphasis will still be great for us,” Boynton said. “No matter what kind of year we’re having, and obviously we’re not having the type of year we wanted to, it’s a big deal, and it will be made that way to our team. Not that we’re going to practice longer or do anything crazy, but they’ll understand the gravity of it to our fans and former players and people who love Oklahoma State around here that we need to make sure we’re fighting for this school on Saturday.”

Being from Oklahoma, Garrison and Dow have seen what the rivalry means to the state. Dow’s parents are from Kansas, so he grew up a fan of the Jayhawks. Garrison said that as a child, most of the people he knew were OU fans, so he leaned that way, too. Until he started getting to know Boynton and the OSU basketball program in about the eighth grade.

Garrison’s last trip to the LNC saw him leave with a gold ball, as his Del City Eagles bested Carl Albert in the 2023 5A state final. Dow was close to doing the same, as his Broken Arrow Tigers came second in the 6A bracket to a talented Edmond North squad.

“I’ve gotten used to it, just for the state championships,” Garrison said. “I left out of there happy, so I’m trying to leave out of there happy on Saturday, too.”

But even those who grew up outside of the state’s borders got a taste of what the rivalry means in November. The basketball team, and just about everyone else in the Stillwater area, was in Boone Pickens Stadium as OSU toppled the Sooners 27-24 in what could be the last Bedlam football game played. Wright called it “probably the best weekend” of his life.

“You could see the game, how much people care about it and how much people really don’t like OU,” Wright said. “All that comes out during the weekends of Beldam. So, we’re excited for it. We’re excited to put on a show for the fans. We know we’ll have some Stillwater fans out there, too. It won’t just be the OU people. We’re going to rep our orange, or whatever jersey we wear out there. We’re just going to try to get the job done.”

Boynton said Thursday that he and OU coach Porter Moser have discussed the future of Bedlam basketball as OU leaves the Big 12 for the SEC. Boynton said he thinks the two will play again but maybe not next season because of some nonconference games already being scheduled.

“I would put the chances of it happening next year pretty small,” Boynton said. “But I don’t think it’s a ‘it’s over’ deal for basketball.”

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