Undermanned Kansas State outdueled an undermanned Oklahoma State team 86-82 on Wednesday night to hand the Pokes their third loss in league play in four attempts.
The Wildcats used a career-high 38 points from Barry Brown and 50 percent shooting from the floor to get the job done in an impressive response, given that their top assist man Kamau Stokes is out indefinitely with injury and may not return this season.
Let’s dig into thoughts from the game.
1. Barry Brown was a dude
Why do I feel like each time OSU rolls the ball out, a player goes out and, ho-hum, scores a career-high? I feel like I’m looping a terrible episode of Oprah. You get a career-high, you get a career-high. Oh, and you? You get a career high!
Brown put up 38 — a new career mark by 10 points — and led the Cats to a pretty comfortable margin before OSU made a run to make it interesting.
Blame Glenn Spencer, blame Mikey B., blame anyone you want, but Barry Brown morphing into Jimmer Fredette lite is a development no one — including his own head coach — saw coming.
Especially because he’s apparently very ill.
Barry Brown pumped in 38 points tonight…
…AND HE HAS BRONCHITIS.
— Jon Morse (@jonfmorse) January 11, 2018
2. Winning the battle on the boards
Mitchell Solomon, who went down with an ankle injury late, led the way for OSU with 10 boards as OSU won the rebounding battle 37-28.
Despite not owning an elite frontcourt by any stretch of the imagination, the Pokes continue to put on a display of good fundamentals down low, mainly because Jeff Carroll rebounds like a power forward.
I don’t know if this advantage will continue against, say, Texas, but the Pokes have won the rebounding war more often than not this season and have shown a tenacity to bang down low with some of the better teams in the league. That’s good coaching, good fundamentals, and, frankly, good Mitchell Solomon play.
Here’s to hoping his ankle ding doesn’t keep him out long.
3. No Tavarius Shine stings
Any time you’re missing your second-leading scorer, things are bound to go awry.
That was absolutely the case Wednesday.
No Tavarius Shine, who sat after injuring his wrists against Iowa State, was a massive blow to OSU’s already weak offense which stagnated for long droughts and couldn’t keep pace with K-State.
The good news: Shine is expected back soon, I’m told.
The bad news …….
4. This might’ve been OSU’s best shot at a road win all season
Look, I’m not writing OSU off for dead yet. I legitimately believe Mike Boynton when he says he thinks his team is good.
They’re OK (I think) and they’re grinders (I know.) There’s no scenario I see in which the team folds it in. But, there’s a very real scenario in which OSU doesn’t win a road game for the rest of the season.
Because according to KenPom, OSU’s next best shot at winning away from GIA this season is at Ames when the Pokes travel to Iowa State on Feb. 27. And say what you will about Iowa State this season, but the Cyclones nearly dumped Kansas in Lawrence on Tuesday, and Ames is, per usual, still Ames.
5. Oklahoma State crumbled down the stretch
Maybe this is a side effect of what it’s like to be Davon-less and Dawson-less, but the Pokes crumbled like a soggy oreo against the Wildcats, this continuing a trend of what OSU’s losses have looked like in tight games.
OSU started strong but wilted against Wichita State, and the same went for the West Virginia and OU games.
Maybe it’s a simple solution that OSU simply doesn’t have the depth to go 40 minutes with a 7-deep roster, but it’s been a predictably sluggish finish in each game the Cowboys have lost. And it’s probably going to be a trend we see continue until the roster gets an upgrade and overhaul.