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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 72-71 Win Over Iowa State

The Pokes pulled out a crazy win in Hilton South.




Oklahoma State will live to fight another day after edging out Iowa State 72-71 in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.

It was a game that included runs by either team, a big comeback and several wacky plays down the stretch. The end result was at least a one-game extension on the careers of three memorable Pokes, and a date with the No. 1 team in the nation Thursday afternoon.

Here are my five thoughts on a crazy Cowboy win on an even crazier day.

1. What a Finish

This was the type of finish you deserve if you’re a Big 12 basketball fan who traveled all the way to Kansas City but will now have to miss the majority of the tournament. More on that below.

After coming back from down double digits in the second half, OSU found itself down 3 with just over a minute left when Iowa State guard Terrence Lewis fouled Cam McGriff beyond the arc while trying to catch a pass. The Pokes were in double-bonus, and Cam knocked down his free ones. One-point game.

After a missed shot by ISU — and another by Lindy Waters — Yor Anei secured just OSU’s eighth offensive rebound, and his only of the game. He got it to Isaac Likekele who was fouled. More free shots. Ice is ice. Cowboys up 1.

Before that play Iowa State owned a 13-7 advantage in offensive rebounds and held a 16-0 edge in second-chance points. Those two from Ice were all they would need, it turns out.

Then this craziness happened which I cannot put into words. So I’ll just show you.

2. One More for the Seniors

With his lightning-fast end-to-end layup, Isaac Likekele extended the careers of several of his teammates including Cam McGriff, Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa. Another game, another night that those seniors will get to go to bed knowing they get to play college basketball tomorrow. A short reprieve from the imminent finality of their careers, and the rest of their lives.

It’s was on the contorted face of Prentiss Nixon who did his best to extend his own career and Iowa State’s season. The senior guard led all scorers with a season-high 25 points and looked unstoppable for huge chunks of the game. But he’s done. It’s over. There will be no postseason for the injured Cyclones who finish 2019-20 with just 12 wins a year after taking home hardware from “Hilton South” last year.

There’s something beautiful, yet gut-wrenching, when you think about how long four years feels when you’re 18 and how fast it’s gone by the time you’re 22. And it goes even faster when you’re 35.

3. Lindy Waters Needs to Find His Shot

Coming into his senior season, Lindy Waters held the seventh-best career 3-point percentage in school history at 41.7. This year he’s shot an un-Lindy 31.4 percent coming into Wednesday. Since Feb. 1, Lindy is shooting an abysmal 24 percent from 3. Against the Cyclones, Waters went 1-for-6 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep.

If Oklahoma State has any chance of upsetting the nation’s top team on Thursday, one of its best natural scorers needs to shake off a slump that’s lasted almost all year. Thursday would be a good day to brush off my #LindyChitwood GIF. Here’s to hoping I get to.

4. Enjoy the Cam Dunks While You Can

There aren’t going to be too many more of these for Oklahoma State fans to enjoy, so let’s enjoy all the ones he gave us on Wednesday night.

Both of his rim-rockers came off of Iowa State turnovers.

Where Cam falls in the pantheon of great OSU skywalkers is a conversation for another time. But there’s not much that I enjoy watching (and hearing) more than the Crime Dog take a bite out of rim.

5. The Empty Arena

Tomorrow’s game will be eerily quiet from the stands. Due to health concerns surrounding the Corona Virus outbreak, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that, like the NCAA Tournament and several other conference’s tournaments, the remainder of the festivities in KC will be limited to essential personnel only.

I don’t know if that hurts or helps OSU when they face Kansas on Thursday afternoon, but I do know it’s going to look weird.

Regardless of how much further they make in Kansas City, the Cowboys are likely going to play beyond this week. We’ll have to wait until Sunday for the official announcement, but the Pokes were projected to be a high seed in the NIT before Wednesday night’s win.

But the atmosphere will be quite different from when Jeffrey Carroll, Kendall Smith and Mitchell Solomon made their NIT run a few seasons ago.



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