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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 71-68 Win Over Texas Tech

The Cowboys needed this one.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


The Cowboys needed a win on Saturday and they got one, in the only way they seem to know how.

Oklahoma State threatened to run away with it early but a signature scoring drought saw the Cowboys’ lead evaporate by halftime and it was a barn-burner at the finish.

The Cowboys ran off to a double-digit lead in the first half thanks to a 5-for-5 start from Bryce Thompson and they were sustained by a season-high performance by Caleb Asberry. This one came down to the wire, but the Cowboys edged out their third Big 12 road win when they needed it most.

Here are five thoughts from the win.

1. What Goes Up…

The Cowboys couldn’t miss a bucket for much of the first half, and until they couldn’t buy one. (How about that start for Bryce Thompson, though?)

OSU started 7-of-9 from the field over the first five minutes to build a 12-point lead. But as OSU fans know, a hot-shooting streak is never safe for the Pokes. The Cowboys were still 12-of-21 (and up seven) with just over five minutes to go in the first. Then they made just one of 12 (!!) shots over the final 5:22 before halftime and led just 35-32.

The Pokes shot a respectable 44% from the field and 36% from 3. They tied a season-high with 33 3-point attempts and their 12 makes were their most since a season-high 13 against Kansas in the Big 12 opener.

Watching leads disappear has become old hat for OSU fans, but it was nice to see the Cowboys hold on to win one, especially when they needed it most.

2. Caleb Asberry was 🔥

One Cowboy didn’t go through a slump.

With Avery Anderson already out and Quion Williams out due to a family funeral, the Cowboys’ backcourt went from thin to thinner. They needed a big game from someone, and No. 5 answered the call.

OSU brought in Caleb Asberry for his 3-point prowess and the early returns weren’t great, but he paid it off from beyond arc in the season finale. Asberry led all scorers with a career-high 24 including 7-of-12 made 3-pointers. He was just 4-for-21 from 3 over the last four games, but he carried the Cowboys on Saturday.

The Cowboys took their biggest lead of the night at 13:22 when Asberry nailed his sixth 3-pointer to go up 53-40. Tech had taken their first lead of the game with 2:15 left, but Asberry hit his seventh deep ball to take back the lead for good 19 seconds later.

3. Tyreek Smith Shows Out at Old Stomping Grounds

After totaling just eight points in three games as a Cowboy against the Red Raiders, Tyreek Smith showed out against his former team.

Smith started just his fourth game this season on Saturday, a switch Mike Boynton made that saw Smith and Cisse start over Kalib Boone. Smith hadn’t started since a three-game stretch in early January, but he paid it off.

Smith was everywhere for the Cowboys. He scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and was a team-high plus-11. He was perfect 4-for-4 from the field including a big 15-footer to keep the Red Raiders at arm’s length. Smith then grabbed a huge offensive rebound with 60 seconds left with OSU up two. That possession led to an and-one opportunity for Moussa Cisse on a dunk to put the Cowboys up four. Cisse went down clutching his leg. So Tech head coach Mark Adams picked Smith to take Cisse’s free throw, his only miss of the night. He was 3-for-4 from the stripe.

4. That Finish, Though

Asberry took the lead back with less than two minutes to go, but the game was far from finished.

Moussa Cisse, who had hobbled back onto the court gimpy in a defense-for-offense substitution, took a runout off of Tech turnover and dunked it to gix OSU a five-point lead with six seconds remaining. The clock-management truthers were losing their mind. Pop Isaacs hit a 3 to make it a 70-68 game with four ticks on the clock before Asberry got the chance to ice it at the free-throw line. He made one of two but a last second 3-point attempt by Jalyon Tyson clanged off the rim. It wasn’t always pretty, but the shorthanded Cowboys held on and secured a must-have win.

5. Still Alive

With a win, the Cowboys retain a shot at the tourney.

Before the game, ESPN Bracket guru Joe Lunardi tweeted out that only the winner of this game had a realistic shot at an at-large bid. With the gauntlet that is the Big 12, it would be tough for any team to put its hopes on winning the conference championship. Their work is not done, but it looks like it’s not conference crown-or-bust for the Cowboys.

So here comes Bedlam Round 3. With the win, the Cowboys retain the 7 seed and will face 10-seeded Oklahoma in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship. The Cowboys and Sooners square off Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. They still need some other things to fall in their favor to get in, but a 3-0 season record against OU would be a good idea.

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