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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 75-58 Loss to Texas Tech

On poor shooting, poor defense and a poor year in GIA.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Cowboys had a Senior Night to forget.

Texas Tech drummed Oklahoma State 75-58 in Gallagher-Iba Arena’s final game this season on Tuesday. The Red Raiders led essentially wire-to-wire, as the game was tied for 58 seconds before Tech led the remaining 39:02. Here are five thoughts from the matchup.

1. A Woeful, Woeful Start

The Cowboys couldn’t throw a rock on the ground in the first half Tuesday night, as they went into the locker room having scored just 17 points.

Miraculously, that isn’t the worst half of basketball the Cowboys have played this season. OSU scored 16 in the second half of its game in Ames — when the Cowboys flew to Iowa the day of the game in a blizzard and played in one of the tougher buildings in the Big 12.

The Pokes on Tuesday started 0-for-10 from the field and missed their first eight 3-point shots. A lot of those triples were open looks — looks the Cowboys have to take in modern basketball. They just were not falling.

That compounded with the fact that OSU allowed Tech to shoot 48% from the field in the half and score 16 points in the paint meant this one was over 20 minutes in, if not sooner.

2. 3-Point Percentage Tailing Off as Year Closes

The Cowboys are a better 3-point shooting team this season than they have been in some time, but as the season is barreling toward its end, that supply of points is running dry.

OSU finished 6-for-28 (21%) from 3 on Tuesday, bringing the season total down to 34% on the year. The Cowboys were hanging around 37% from 3 in the early portions of the Big 12 schedule, but in their past four games, they’ve gone 21-for-84 (25%).

“It could be [tired legs] — I won’t say it’s not at all, but I’m also not into making excuses,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “That’s not really my deal. We showed up to play a game just like the other team, and you gotta play better. That’s it. Whether you’re making 3s or not, you’ve got to find a way to be more efficient with the basketball on the offensive end. Get better looks. Be stronger with the ball. Get some offensive rebounds. Maybe when you get stops, which we didn’t do a great job of, get out in transition and get some easy baskets.”

3. Rough Night Offensively for Freshmen Starters

As we’ve already discussed, that heading could’ve just stopped after “offensively,” but as much potential as Brandon Garrison and Jamyron Keller have shown this season, Tuesday night wasn’t their night when it came to putting the ball in the basket.

The freshman tandem combined to go 2-for-9 from the floor with eight points and seven turnovers. Keller, like nearly everyone else on the team, struggled from 3, going 0-for-4. During his two breakout games (back-to-back wins against BYU and Cincinnati), Keller was 6-for-7 from deep. Since, the freshman has come back down to earth a little bit from 3, having gone 1-for-14.

Garrison finished with more turnovers than points — an oddity for a center. He had a career-high five turnovers to go with his four points. Despite the rough offensive night, Garrison played well in other aspects of the game. He finished with eight rebounds — the most he has had since Jan. 13 against Iowa State. That kept the rebounding margin close at 34-30 in Tech’s favor, an area the Cowboys have struggled mightily in during recent games. He was also the only OSU starter to finish on the plus side in plus/minus at +2.

It’s another example of the ebbs and flows of freshmen. Of the group of five, Eric Dailey has probably been the most consistent this season. It probably helps that he is a year older than his classmates, as he took a postgrad year at IMG Academy. But Keller and Garrison have had definitive ups this year. Meanwhile Connor Dow ran into some midseason struggles just to play the best he has in a while on Tuesday night, finishing with four points on two shots in 15 minutes on the floor.

4. Defense, Again, a Real Issue

For the ninth time this season, a team has shot at or above 50% on the Cowboys.

That’s an abnormality for Boynton-coached teams. It has happened just eight times the past three seasons combined.

It’s perhaps an overcorrection based off the previous teams’ offensive inefficiencies. It also has a lot to do with the Cowboys’ inexperience in the paint with Garrison getting the majority of the minutes at center, and outside of the 6-foot-11 freshman, there isn’t a whole lot of length.

But on the outside, gone are the days of Isaac Likekele hounding opponents with length or Avery Anderson staying in front of guys with his quickness. Those two struggled to space the floor, going a combined 85-for-318 (27% from 3) during their OSU careers, but they could put some ball-handlers in pretzels.

The issue is the middle ground — the players that can space the floor and hound opponents defensively — come at a premium, especially in the NIL world. There aren’t many 6-foot-6, defensive-minded floor spacers in college basketball. Everyone wants the ones that do exist.

The Cowboys have won games with defense in the past, and they’ve won games with 3-point shooting this season. The next step for the program as a whole is probably trying to find a way in the middle of those two extremes.

“Haven’t cracked the code with this team defensively all year,” Boynton said. “We’ve had some moments, but we’ve never won a game really guarding. We’ve done that pretty much every year until now. We just gotta get better. We’ve gotta get better there.”

5. A Rough Year on Eddie Sutton Court

The Cowboys finish their home schedule at 10-8.

That 0.556 winning percentage is the second-worst of the Mike Boynton era — only trailing the 2019-20 season when Boynton had to hold open tryouts midway through the year.

Tuesday’s 17-point loss was the second-worst the Cowboys suffered on Eddie Sutton Court this season, trailing only their 24-point loss to Kansas in mid-January.

The past two GIA crowds have reflected OSU’s struggles. There were a listed 6,023 in attendance Tuesday night. It was even worse in the UCF game at 5,044.

When the ol’ barn has something to cheer for, it still has that magic to it. There just haven’t been nearly as many of those moments this season.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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