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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 65-50 Loss to Kansas

Where does the scoring come from?

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Oklahoma State showed some grit early erasing a 17-point first-half deficit but didn’t have the horses to run with the shorthanded Jayhawks.

A late first-half run saw the Cowboys down just 5 at the half. They pulled within 3 with their first bucket of the final frame, but the Jayhawks slowly pulled away before finding their jump shot again.

A play midway through the second half really summed things up. Ochai Agbaji was trying to get his big man, Udoka Azubuike, involved with a deep lob to the hoop. Instead, the errant pass was long and the ball rattled in for a 3-pointer to put KU up 21. The game was over with more than 10 minutes left on the clock.

Let’s jump into five thoughts from the Cowboys’ latest loss.

1. It’s About How You Start and How You Finish

Oklahoma State desperately needed to turn its 55.1-percent aberration from the field against Texas A&M into a trend, but the Cowboys got no love from the rim, especially early.

It took six field goal attempts for the Cowboys to replace the zero from their side of the scoreboard, and they still hadn’t moved the net. Udoka Azubuike’s goal-tend of an Avery Anderson layup put the Cowboys on the board. It was strangely his only scoring output of the first half.

The Cowboys followed up their season-best shooting game with their season-worst, finishing 18-of-64 from the field (28 percent). I’d like to say their 11-percent 3-point effort was also a season-low, but it bested their 2-of-19 outing against TCU with a 2-of-18 one against Kansas.

It took a 15-0 run toward the end of the first just to pull within 2 and make things interesting but that was still in large part to a KU scoring drought that the Pokes really didn’t capitalize on.

2. Doke Didn’t Beat ‘Em (They Beat Themselves)

How do you keep the nation’s most efficient shot maker from lighting you up? Don’t let him take a shot.

Udoka Azubuike came in leading the nation in field goal percentage (78.1 percent) and effective FG percentage (77.5 percent). But thanks to some defensive scheming and two first half fouls, the Jayhawks’ big man didn’t take a shot in the first half and didn’t get on the board until six minutes into the second.

He did finish 3-of-4 for 6 points and was his normal effective self on the defensive side grabbing seven rebounds and blocking five shots (and altering countless others). The paint was a no-fly zone when Azubuike was on the floor. The problem is that OSU didn’t make KU pay when he wasn’t.

With Azubuike and Devon Dotson on the bench after each picking up two fouls, the Cowboys settled for 3s that weren’t falling instead of attacking the rim and didn’t take advantage of the shorthanded ‘Hawks even with their two best players in foul trouble.

3. Player of the Game — Cam McGriff

After playing a season-low 17 minutes against A&M, McGriff had one of his better games of the season. He led all scorers with 18 points and led the Cowboys with eight rebounds.

I won’t even knock him too much for his 1-for-5 night from beyond the arc. Some of those were ill-advised, but someone needed to put up points and he was the only Cowboy who looked capable for most of the night. The problem is that you need more than a solid game from Cam McGriff to be competitive in the Big 12.

4. Who Can OSU Count On?

If you are planning to play David to a Goliath like Kansas, you better at least bring a couple of stones to the fight. I don’t see that when I look at OSU’s roster. At least not right now.

We’ve been told Isaac Likekele is not 100 percent, and I believe it. After 5 big points during the Cowboys’ run late in the first, he didn’t score again until after the last media timeout, when the rout was already settled.

Lindy Waters finished with 5 on nine shots. Other than Cam McGriff, OSU’s top five scorers on the season went a combined 7-of-29. Avery Anderson was at least aggressive early, but made one shot for 2 points — and again he didn’t actually make that shot. 

McGriff showed up, but he didn’t get much help from his fellow vets. And it’s apparent that none of OSU’s freshmen are ready to take on that type of a role, at least not yet.

5. A Night to Remember

A lot of us have where you were memories from 19 years ago. Mine involved a 16-year-old me — still kind of bummed that the Cowboys’ broke a five-game win streak — being absolutely jarred into perspective. I just remember staring in absolute shock at the TV as the news continued to come in before we finally heard what we all feared.

This is a surreal weekend every year, but the events of yesterday made it almost eerie. I won’t spend a ton of time on this — Kyle Porter painted the picture masterfully — but it’s no cliche. Remember what, and who, is really important. Don’t let the small things keep you from enjoying the big ones. And don’t let a damn sports game ruin your night.

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