Connect with us


Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 66-62 Loss to Oklahoma

On an ugly game, free throws and the future of Bedlam



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


NORMAN — This game won’t have screenings in the Louvre any time soon.

Oklahoma State lost a cagey (ugly) game to Oklahoma 66-62 on Saturday in Lloyd Noble Center. The game was tight throughout as the Cowboys couldn’t hit a shot, and the Sooners couldn’t get out of their own way. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. An Ugly End to an Ugly Game

A lot has been said about the Cowboys’ inability to close tight games, and Saturday provided another example. The Pokes are now 2-8 this season in games decided by five or fewer points.

Starting with OSU’s defense: OU rattled off a 9-0 run over 2:09 to bump what was a 56-52 OSU lead to a 61-56 OU lead. That’s where it started going wrong for OSU.

But the magnifying glass will go over the final few OSU possessions.

The Cowboys’ third-from-final possession ended in a Javon Small deep 2-point attempt with OSU down 61-60. The possession broke down after OSU got a switch it wanted with a smaller defender on Brandon Garrison, but the Pokes were unable to get him the ball with enough time for him to go to work. So Small pulled with his foot on the 3-point line and it rattled out.

“Because they were switching, we thought we could be able to get the ball inside,” Boynton said. “They just did a really good job of being physical with (Garrison) and kind of pushing him off his spot. I think John(-Michael Wright) had the ball in front of our bench, didn’t really have a great passing lane. At that point, the shot clock runs down, somebody’s gotta go make a play. Javon took it in there, drove it. You gotta live with what you get. We obviously wanted to get a layup or a wide-open 3. But with the shot clock running down and the game on the line, you gotta take a shot that you can get. He got that shot. I’m confident he can make it.”

From there, OSU had to foul. After a pair of makes made it 63-60 with 28 seconds left, Quion Williams then got to the bucket and scored to cut the lead back to a point with 15 seconds to play.

Two OU free throws later, and OSU had the ball down three with 11 seconds to play. Then the already weird game got more weird.

Out of context, Small drove the lane (down three), lost the ball and that was essentially it. After the game, OU players said they fouled Small, which would’ve sent him to the line to shoot two down three. Boynton said he thinks Small thought he was fouled, which led to the awkwardness of him going inside the 3-point line down three.

2. Perhaps the Ugliest Game Ever

People say the Thunder is harming college basketball in this state. Well, I say whatever I just watched is doing plenty enough to harm it.

This game featured three technical fouls, a flagrant foul, 52 combined free throws and 41 total fouls. What was once expected to be a battle between Brandon Garrison and Sam Godwin down low, turned into Mike Marsh vs. Luke Northweather because of foul trouble on both sides.

Both teams combined to start just 3-for-20 from the field.

The halftime score was 31-26, and the Cowboys shot just 22% from the field and 18% in the half yet were somehow still in the game.

Meanwhile, the Sooners couldn’t get out of their own way. Jalon Moore picked up a technical after a dunk because he yelled something toward the OSU bench. Then Otega Oweh picked up a T after arguing a no-call after a layup. Less than a minute later, Sam Godwin fouled out while being on the bench for doing something after an OU bucket and picking up a technical. Then John Hughley stormed through a Jamyron Keller screen and picked up a flagrant foul. So for those keeping track, that’s eight foul shots the Sooners just gave OSU.

It was a close game, but that certainly doesn’t mean it was a good one.

3. Free Throws Were a Bigger Problem than They Seem

The Cowboys shot 75% from the foul line, a number Boynton shoots for, but all wasn’t as it seemed.

OSU was 21-for-28 from the line, and it’s hard to be too critical when a team gets to the line 28 times in a game (something OSU has gotten good at this season). But the second half was less good.

Shooting into the OU student section, the Cowboys were 11-for-17 (65%) from the stripe in the second half, missing a pair of front ends on 1-and-1s. Missing the front end of a 1-and-1 is akin to missing two free throws, so OSU was actually more like 11-for-19 (58%) in the second half. That’s significant in a game that ended as close as Saturday’s was.

4. Small Was the Best Player on the Floor

Javon Small is going to take a lot of flak for the final stretch of that game, but the reality is, he is probably the best college basketball player in the state of Oklahoma this season.

Small finished with a game-high 17 points. At 5-for-16, it was an inefficient 17, but efficiency was at a premium for everyone Saturday. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Basically, if Small wasn’t spearheading it, it probably wasn’t going to work for the Cowboys.

The Sooners hedged and doubled Small on ball screens, which gave him fits early before he started figuring it out. Small scored seven of his points in the final 3:11 of the first half. Then late, because Small was figuring things out, OU coach Porter Moser started switching ball screens with Small, throwing an entirely new look at him to figure out. It’s good coaching when it works, but if Small would’ve feasted on the switches, there would’ve been questions that needed answering.

“Javon, I said it before, I think he’s one of the premier guards in this league,” Moser said. “He’s tough to handle.”

The end of the game isn’t going to go on any Javon Small highlight reel, but the ball in his hands is undoubtedly OSU’s best shot at winning games.

5. Bedlam’s Future

Both Boynton and Moser are on record with saying that Bedlam basketball has a chance to survive the Sooners’ move to the SEC.

Boynton expressed his interested in the game continuing at his weekly media availability on Thursday. He said he thinks the chance of Bedlam being played next year is “pretty small” with some nonconference games already being on the books for next season, but past that he thinks it has a chance.

“Mike and I have talked about it, and I don’t think either one of us are opposed to it,” Moser said Saturday. “It’s great for the state. It’s great for the teams. Just got to figure out the timing of it of our schedules in advance.”

Another sticking point seems to be where the game will be played, which will probably be a sticking point in a lot of sports as it pertains to the rivalry’s future. Do you schedule a home-and-home? Do you play it at Paycom? BOK? If you do a home-and-home, who gets first dibs? Those things will have to be worked out, but I think it’s a net positive for basketball in the state that both sides seem willing to keep it going.

The state is starting to grow some solid basketball players. Garrison was a McDonald’s All-American last year. David Castillo (signed with Kansas State) is a top-50 recruit. Owasso’s Jalen Montonati, son of former OSU standout Brian Montonati, is looking like a future pro despite being only a high school sophomore. It’s good for the state when there is a high-stakes college basketball game between the state’s two biggest schools.

In the meantime, there is still one Bedlam game on the schedule, as the Sooners will make the trip to Stillwater on Feb. 24.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media