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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 75-72 Win over Kansas State

On others stepping up and the Cowboys’ grit.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — Fresh off a 29-point loss where the Cowboys saw one of their best players suffer perhaps a season-ending injury, of course the Cowboys came back and won on Saturday.

Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 75-72 in Gallagher-Iba Arena. It’s the Pokes’ second Big 12 win of the season and pushes them to 10-12 overall on the year. Here are five thoughts from the game.

1. Welcome Back, Quion Williams

Quion Williams started the Cowboys’ first 17 games of the season, but a turnover-happy stretch saw him make a move to the bench starting with the Cowboys’ trip to Manhattan. Well, he returned to the starting lineup Saturday and was back to his energetic self.

Williams put up his third double-double of the season, scoring 17 points to go with 10 rebounds and finishing with a team-best plus-nine in plus-minus. He was particularly a menace on the offensive glass, ripping down six offensive boards.

He hadn’t played more than 30 minutes since the Cowboys’ Big 12-opener against Baylor on Jan. 6. He played 35 Saturday and that came with him dealing with some tightness in his thigh in the second half. Williams played just 19 minutes against Kansas on Tuesday; he played 19 minutes in the first half Saturday.

Starting with the Cowboys’ game against Tulsa on Dec. 10 until he exited the starting lineup Jan. 20, Williams averaged 3.3 turnovers a game. He had one turnover Saturday, and it came after he skied for an offensive rebound and crashed on his back to the hardwood — so, one you can live with.

2. Welcome to the Show, Jamyron Keller

The Cowboys were in need of someone to step up without Bryce Thompson, and freshman Jamyron Keller did.

Entering Saturday, Keller played a combined 24 minutes of Big 12 basketball — sitting out three of the Cowboys’ games entirely. He scored four total points in those games and didn’t have a rebound or assist.

Well, playing 24 minutes Saturday, Keller recorded 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, but he was perhaps even more impactful on the defensive end — often assigned to Tylor Perry. Perry still scored 19 points, going 5-for-9 from 3 because that’s what he does, but Keller made him work for it.

With 12 seconds to play, Keller split a pair of foul shots to give OSU its 75-72 lead. Everyone in the gym knew Perry was going to attempt the game’s final shot. Perry threw the ball in with the idea of getting it right back, but Keller plastered to him. Perry didn’t get the ball until the Wildcats advanced it past halfcourt. The ball eventually found it’s way to Perry, but the best look he could get was 27-footer while falling out of bounds.

“I challenged him a while back, honestly,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “I told him coming out of Christmas break that there was a chance for him to take a step up or take a step back. They don’t know what it means, and you can’t simulate what they’re going through. You just can’t. There’s nothing to help prepare them to play the nine games that we’ve played in this conference before you do it. We can talk to them about it. We can show them all the film, but until you get out there and it’s really happening — and it happens fast. It happens way faster than it looks like it’s happening from even where I’m sitting.

“For him to, and probably in the time we needed him the most with Bryce out, to step up and give us a defensive presence, guarding a guy who he had to guard today and still getting some offensive production out of him, we see what’s possible with some time with these guys.”

3. A 1-3-1 Zone?

All is fair in love, war and basketball strategery, but Kansas State relying on a 1-3-1 zone to slow down a group of freshmen with one conference win was sort of gross.

There is a saying that goes “Ball don’t lie.” It essentially means the game will work itself out. An official get an out-of-bounds call wrong only for the team that errantly gained possession to turn it over? Ball don’t lie. Phantom foul call only for someone to miss the front end of a 1-and-1? Ball don’t lie. Well, if you’re throwing a funky zone at a team that is 1-7 in conference play and full of freshmen you probably shouldn’t win the game.

It speaks to the moshpit of the Big 12 where teams are just fighting for any win they can get. You have to do what you have to do.

4. Redemption

The Cowboys had the Wildcats in Manhattan and let them get away.

OSU had a 10-point lead in the second half of that Jan. 20 meeting but hit just one field goal in the final 7:30. Well, the big scoring drought Saturday came from the Wildcats.

The Pokes had a 12-0 run in the first half that saw K-State not score a point for 6:08. That stretch made as much of a difference as anything in this game.

K-State’s biggest run was a 7-0 run early in the first half, but it lasted less than three minutes.

5. This Team Has Fight

How this team has any fight left after some of the blow outs it has suffered is perhaps the most impressive part of this season.

The Cowboys just lost by 29 points. They lost their leader for likely the rest of the season. They have a snowball’s chance in H-E-double hockey sticks at making the NCAA Tournament. And they just went out there and outscrapped a team that still has a ton to play for.

“They kicked our butts to the 50/50 balls,” K-State coach Jerome Tang said. “They that was a credit to Mike and his staff getting those guys ready. They competed harder than we did at times.”

The Cowboys are this meme:

It’s been an incredibly disappointing season of OSU basketball — perhaps the worst since I’ve been on this planet. But, though the wins have been scarce and the play has been ugly at times, this group just keeps going.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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