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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 79-65 Loss to Creighton

On two killer runs, a tough reality and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — Creighton boasts one of the most dangerous offenses in the country, and the Cowboys found out Thursday night you can’t let them go for even a little bit.

Oklahoma State fell to Creighton 79-65 in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Bluejays hit 53% of their 3s against the Cowboys, going 7-for-12 from deep in the first half. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. Two Creighton Runs the Difference

The Cowboys matched the Bluejays to start, but then those Bluejays just stopped missing.

There were two runs in the first half Thursday that were the difference in this game.

OSU led 14-11 with 14 minutes to play in the first half before Creighton went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes. That stretch saw the Bluejays go 5-for-6 from the field while OSU went 1-for-5.

Then the real backbreaker came in the form of a 17-0 Creighton over about a five-minute stretch at the end of the first half. That run saw Creighton go 5-for-7 from the field including 3-for-5 from deep. OSU was 0-for-7 during that stretch, missing a trio of 3s. The Cowboys missed their final nine shots of the first half.

The Cowboys actually outscored the Bluejays 36-32 in the second half, but that about 7:30 of basketball in the first half where the Cowboys were outscored by 27 points was more than enough to spell doom for the Pokes. That’s where the Cowboys lost this game.

“You can’t get down 18,” Boynton said. “You can chip away only so much in 20 minutes. You gotta find a way to get that six-minute stretch out of the game at the end of the day. That’s what it boils down to. Maybe burn a second timeout — gotta start with myself. Maybe substitute, maybe go to a different defense. We tried to mix it up a little bit to keep them off balance. But those are all areas we’ll look at over the next few days before we play our next game.”

2. It’s OK to Be Mad, But It’s Also OK to Realize the Team Is Getting Better

This team is getting better. OSU fans might not want to hear this right now, and given the 3-4 start, they’re justified in that.

I wrote something similar after the OSU football team’s loss in Ames. It’s tough to swallow that getting better can also mean losing by 14 on your home floor — another thing that it’s OK to take issue with.

But the Cowboys shot 44% from 3-point range Thursday and 73% from the free-throw line. In a game against the toughest competition the Cowboys have played this year, they had their second best outings from 3 and the line. In OSU’s season-opening loss to Abilene Christian, the Cowboys shot 22% from 3 and 40% from the line — that was seemingly rock bottom.

Defensively, things weren’t great Thursday, but a lot of teams are going to have bad defensive nights against the Bluejays because they have six or seven guys that can go off at any given time. Four Creighton players scored at least 16 points against OSU. I asked Boynton about why the team didn’t meet sharpshooter Steven Ashworth at the top of ball screens, and his answer was that they didn’t want to allow lobs to the 7-foot-1 Ryan Kalkbrenner at the rim, which makes sense. The Bluejays have a lot of guys to guard. It’s also OK to question why OSU has more guys to guard in a given year than OSU — all justified criticisms.

“At the end of the day, we still got a young team,” Javon Small said. “That’s not an excuse, but from our first loss against ACU, we’re getting a lot better. I don’t care what nobody says. I see the potential in our team, and I see the growth that we overcome. We’re getting a lot better, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

3. Rebounding Difference More of a Shooting Difference Thursday

The Cowboys haven’t been an outstanding team on the glass this season, but I think their 38-30 loss on the boards Thursday had more to do with the shooting difference than anything.

Most would agree teams are more likely to grab defensive rebounds than offensive rebounds. Well, the Cowboys missed 37 shots Thursday to Creighton’s 26. Bluntly, the Bluejays had more opportunities to rebound the ball Thursday because OSU missed more shots. And the Cowboys shot decently Thursday; the real issue was Creighton not missing.

This marks the third time OSU has been outrebounded this season, which, given the competition to this point isn’t a great sign heading into Big 12 play.

4. Thompson’s Return Doesn’t Go to Plan

After missing the past three games with a knee injury, Bryce Thompson returned Thursday, and it was … rough.

Thompson was almost immediately into foul trouble, picking up his fourth with 16:35 to play. That led to him playing just 21 minutes. He had seven points, scoring five of those in the final 3:03. He didn’t have a rebound, didn’t have an assist and was minus -13.

Thompson and Javon Small have essentially played one full game and two half games together. The full game was OSU’s 85-70 win against Sam Houston. Thompson then just played a half against St. Bonaventure before the injury kept him out until Thursday, where he was in foul trouble so early that it was tough to call it a full game. For OSU’s sake, the two will hopefully start to understand each other’s play styles more and mesh better as the team’s two lead guards with more time on the floor together.

5. Small, Dailey Played Well

There were two definitive positives for the Cowboys Thursday: Javon Small and Eric Dailey Jr.

Dailey put up his first career double-double, scoring 13 points on 67% shooting to go with 11 boards. He also had a pair of assists and no turnovers. He stepped into a trio of contested 3-point shots, drilling his first two before missing his heat check.

It wasn’t the most efficient night for Small, but he was asked to do a lot. Small scored a game-high 24 points, going 8-for-17 from the field. He also had five rebounds and four assists. After not having a turnover in his past two games, Small had three against the Bluejays.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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