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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 70-66 Loss to Kansas State

Another big scoring drought spells doom for the Pokes.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


The Cowboys came close to their first Big 12 win Saturday, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Oklahoma State collapsed to a 70-66 defeat to Kansas State in Manhattan. The Cowboys held a 10-point lead with 10 minutes to play before it all came tumbling down. Here are five thoughts from the game.

1. Unable To Close

OSU made one field goal in the final 7:30 of this game.

Connor Dow hit a 3 with 7:31 to play that gave the Cowboys a 59-52 lead. From that point on, the only field goal OSU made was a Javon Small layup with 53 seconds to play.

In that final 7:30, OSU was 0-for-6 from 3 and 1-for-1 from 2. That’s right, the only 2-point attempt OSU had in the final 7:30 went in. Now, it’s not like OSU exclusively settled for 3s in that final stretch. The Cowboys got to the line nine times in the final 7:30, going 5-for-9, but six missed 3s in a stretch where the Cowboys couldn’t score is maddening.

K-State, meanwhile, took just two 3s in the final 7:30. One went in, and it was the shot that gave K-State the lead. Cam Carter banked a gross shot off the backboard. The ugliness of that shot added a little salt to the gaping wound that is OSU Basketball right now.

2. But at Least There Was Fight

Footage of this game isn’t going to be in a museum any time soon.

Each team had 17 turnovers and portions of this game looked more like rugby on hardwood than basketball. But the fact that OSU’s guys were willing to go into the mud and slug out a game is a promising sign on the team’s morale (as promising a sign an 0-5 team can have).

There was one defensive possession where 6-foot-1 John-Michael Wright was guarding 6-foot-9 David N’Guessan on the block for a full possession. Wright battled to where N’Guessan was put behind the backboard and couldn’t attempt a shot, so he had to pass. Then on K-State’s shot, Wright battled long enough to keep N’Guessan away from the rebound.

There are no morale victories, certainly at this point, but if I’m having to watch a team that has lost its last five games, I prefer watching games like this one or the overtime battle against Baylor compared to the losses to Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas.

3. Lineup Changes Provide Spark

Mike Boynton used the same starting lineup for 11 straight games, but it changed Saturday.

Out were Eric Dailey Jr. and Quion Williams, and in were Connor Dow and Wright. The starting five of Dailey, Williams, Javon Small, Bryce Thompson and Brandon Garrison had some success together. For a major portion of that 11-game stretch, the best the Cowboys looked were at the beginning of games, but four straight losses to start Big 12 play were enough for Boynton to change things up.

There were some good things that came from it. Making his first start since the Houston Christian game on Nov. 24, Wright looked as confident as he has in a long while. He confidently stepped into his 3s and finished with 11 points. It was just his second time in double figures in his past dozen games.

Then Dailey was able to act as the second unit’s primary scoring option. He had a team-high 15 points — which tied a season-high. Despite coming off the bench, Dailey made the most shots of any Cowboy. It also allowed Dailey and Williams to share some small-ball center duties with Garrison in foul trouble and Mike Marsh struggling.

Lastly, Dow played hard despite having a poor shooting night. He is going to be compared most frequently to Phil Forte and Thomas Dziagwa (because he is white and shoots well, most of the time). But, Dow probably isn’t yet the shooter of either of those guys, but at an athletic 6-foot-6, he is better defensively than those two.

4. Weird Game

So you mean to tell me that after three straight blowouts, OSU nearly wins a game where Thompson and Small combine for 18 points on 33% shooting and Brandon Garrison was in foul trouble for the majority of? Sure.

If you would’ve told me going in that Thompson and Small combined to shoot 33% shooting and have nine turnovers, I would’ve assumed the Cowboys lost by 25. Those two have been the Cowboys’ most consistent scoring options all season. Perhaps that was a result of the lineup adjustment throwing things off for them.

The pair played well in other aspects, as Small led the team in rebounds (eight), assists (five) and steals (five), while Thompson also had a pair of steals and hit a big 3 in the second half, but those two going 6-for-18 from the field probably isn’t a winning recipe for the Cowboys.

5. Still Winless

Thirteen of 14 Big 12 teams have multiple conference wins this season. OSU is team No. 14, and it has none.

That’s the stat that turns away any notions of moral victories or bright spots. That Cowboys are 8-10. It’s OK to say they played better Saturday, but let’s not act like scoring one field goal in 7:30 of on-court action and gave away a double-digit lead in the second half is a positive.

The group is also now 0-6 in games decided by five or fewer points. Youth doesn’t make that stat any easier to correct, but it also doesn’t change the fact that it’s the cold, hard truth.

The Cowboys have a two-game home stand against TCU (Tuesday) and West Virginia (Saturday) upcoming. The Horned Frogs have lost their past two, and West Virginia was the only Big 12 team to enter Saturday ranked behind OSU in the NET — but then the Mountaineers beat Kansas. Going 2-0 this coming week wouldn’t put the Cowboys on the NCAA Tournament bubble or anything, but it would give the fanbase something other than misery.

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