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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 64-56 Victory against No. 11 Iowa State

Mike Boynton owns Hilton.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


Road teams were winless in Hilton Coliseum entering Saturday — were.

Oklahoma State topped Iowa State 64-56 in Ames on Saturday. It’s the Cowboys’ fifth straight win. Here are five thoughts.

1. Hilton-Boynton Coliseum

For the first time this season, the Cyclones have lost in Hilton Coliseum.

With that loss, Iowa State is 12-1 on its home floor, and the win moves Mike Boynton to 4-2 in one of the most underrated venues in college basketball. It’s also the first time in program history OSU has won three in a row in the building.

Here are some of the teams who have gone into Hilton this season and lost: St. John’s, Baylor, Texas, Kansas State and Kansas.

This win for OSU was big for its season and its NCAA Tournament hopes, but it was just as big considering where the game was played.

2. It Wasn’t Pretty, but That Doesn’t Matter

The first half of this game looked more like football on hardwood.

It was physical. Bodies were everywhere. Caleb Asberry took a knee to the face and bloodied his nose diving for a loose ball.

Then coming out of the half, the refs seemingly tried to get more of a handle on things. There were 30 (!!) personal fouls called in the second half, a half in which the teams combined to shoot 28 free throws.

It was made all the more ugly by the fact that these two teams are at the bottom of the Big 12 in field-goal percentage. OSU was 14-for-20 (70%) from the stipe Saturday while the Cyclones were a stinky, smelly 9-for-19 (47.4%) on foul shots.

Was this a basketball masterpiece? No (unless you’re a fan of very obscure art), but this time of year and in that building, the Cowboys will take them how they can get them.

3. Cowboys Flip the Script on Turnovers

Part of the ugliness of this game was the fact that OSU had 10 first-half turnovers that turned into 12 Iowa State points.

That isn’t an OSU-specific issue. The Cyclones entered the game ranking first nationally in turnover percentage, according to KenPom, forcing teams into turnovers in 26% of their possessions.

Whatever was going wrong, the Cowboys made adjustments at the half. They had only six turnovers in the second half, and Iowa State scored only three points off those turnovers.

Meanwhile, after forcing Iowa State into only three first-half turnovers, Oklahoma State forced nine in the second half. OSU had no points off turnovers in the first half and 10 in the second.

4. John-Michael Wright Answers the Call Again

John-Michael Wright led the Cowboys with 19 points, continuing a hot streak.

Across the past seven games, Wright is shooting 45.5% from 3 while averaging 11.7 points per game. And it’s not just that he is doing it, it’s how he is doing it. In the month of February, Wright is averaging 6.8 points per second half. He is closing games whether it be buzzer-beating tip-ins or scoring 13 of OSU’s 38 second-half points in Hilton.

Wright on Saturday went on a spree where he scored his 13 second-half points in a 13-minute streak. He tied the game at 40 with a steal and dunk. He tied it again at 43 with a 3. He gave OSU a 50-48 lead with a pair of free throws. Then he finally gave OSU a lead it wouldn’t give up when he hit a jumper that made it 52-50.

5. Five in a Row

If OSU stopped winning here, there is a world where the Cowboys are still a part of bubble talk come Selection Sunday. One more win, the chances obviously increase. Two more wins, and the Cowboys are surely in (for reference, OSU is 16-9 and 7-5 in Big 12 play).

It’s go time for the Pokes as they’ve won five in a row and seven of their past eight. As of writing, the Cowboys are fifth in the Big 12 standings, and if OSU and Iowa State finish with the same conference record, the Cowboys will get the higher seed at the Big 12 Tournament because of the sweep.

OSU is only two games back of first-place Texas with six games to go. And, aside from Texas, OSU still has games against the teams ahead of them. The Cowboys can still do some climbing.

Considering where things were Jan. 14 (OSU was 9-8 and 1-4 in league play), these scenarios seem like a fever dream.

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