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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 79-73 Victory against TCU

On Boone the alien, a wild scramble and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]



STILLWATER — It wasn’t the most straightforward of wins, but the Cowboys have now won five of their past six.

Oklahoma State topped TCU 79-73 on Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys jumped on the Horned Frogs early before blowing a 19-point second half lead, refocusing and closing the game out. Here are five thoughts.

1. Kalib Boone Is Otherworldly

The past few weeks, Kalib Boone has not resided on the same planet as the rest of us.

After torching his rival Sooners Wednesday, Boone scored a career-high 25 points against the Horned Frogs to go with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Horned Frogs had no answers for Boone early, which seems extra odd considering he would’ve likely been atop the scouting report based on how he has played. In the first seven possessions of the game, Boone already had six points, four rebounds and an assist. Those rebounds were the first four of the game, and he scored or assisted on the first nine points of the game.

He also closed strong, scoring 13 points in the second half, including eight points in the final five minutes.

Boone has failed to score in double figures in only one of OSU’s 10 games this calendar year and is averaged 16.4 points a game since January.

“I saw something in that kid as a freshman in high school that I thought he could become the type of player that we’re seeing now,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “Not prophetic or anything, I’ve just seen enough good basketball players that I believed his ability, that if he worked hard enough — because there was a lot of work to be done, that he could become one of the best players in our conference.

“To be honest, the truth is he fought it a little bit, for a while. Not that he didn’t want to become that. I think it was more that is a scary proposition to put yourself out there. … I always knew he could be a guy, a guy who is one of the best players on one of the best teams in our league. He’s been showing that for the last month or so now.”

2. The Collapse and Recovery

A little more than a minute into the second half, OSU had a 19-point lead at 48-29. TCU scoring runs and OSU turnover runs saw the Horned Frogs take their first lead of the game at 60-59 with 5:08 to play.

It was a big collapse. OSU had nine second-half turnovers and missed six foul shots in the half. But it didn’t matter because the Cowboys pulled it together long enough at the end to get the win, outscoring TCU 16-10 in the final 3:39.

It was the first time in a while Mr. Hyde overtook Dr. Jekyll. This team had quite a bit of hot-and-cold halves at the beginning of the year, but earlier in the season this might’ve spelled doom for the Pokes. So mark it down as an improvement that OSU still found a way to win, but it’s still terrifying that 19-point leads aren’t safe.

“I think our guys’ response to their response was obviously critical,” Boynton said. “We lost the lead there and had to make some plays to win. Our guys made winning plays throughout the stretch of the game. We talked in the last media [timeout] about having to be the tougher team. Collectively, I think, over the course of the game today, I thought we were the tougher team.”

3. The Cade Block-and-Save Reimagined

A real turning point in OSU’s regaining control of this game came on a wild scramble.

Moussa Cisse got a fingertip on Damion Baugh floater attempt. Cisse then smacked a would-be rebound away. Falling out of bounds, John-Michael Wright heaved the loose ball over his head just hoping to get it past the half-court line. What Wright didn’t know was it was a near-perfect pass to Caleb Asberry.

Asberry drove to the basket before laying it off for a Boone dunk to put the Cowboys up 70-65.

It happened in nearly the same spot as a Cade Cunningham classic from two seasons ago to give the Cowboys a lead in an eventual win against Kansas.

4. Asberry, Wright Play Well in Anderson’s Absence

Avery Anderson reaggravated a nagging wrist injury this week and is dealing with a cold, so OSU needed a guard (or two) to step up. The Cowboys’ transfers did just that.

Caleb Asberry scored 19 points in his first OSU start, and John-Michael Wright added 17. The two transfers combined to go 7-for-12 from deep (OSU made eight 3s in the game).

Wright took over late, scoring eight of his points in the final five minutes. He hit a 3 with 3:39 to play to give OSU a 66-65 lead, a lead the Cowboys wouldn’t give up.

Asberry’s most highlight-worthy play came in the first half when he sneakily stole an outlet pass before instantly stepping back and hitting a 3. One of the most confident-looking plays in OSU’s season thus far.

5. Five of Six

This one was a big one for the Cowboys’ Tournament hopes.

The Cowboys might be the hottest team in the Big 12 right now, having won five of their past six games, and OSU still has two games against Texas Tech and a game against West Virginia (the two teams at the bottom of the Big 12) to play. Now, it’s the Big 12, so don’t mark those down as definitive wins. But the path to the Big Dance is there.

OSU is also .500 in conference play. If the Cowboys can finish .500 in this death ball of a conference, they’ll surely be in.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, the more you think about it,” Boone said. “The more games we play and get closer to the Big 12 Tournament and stuff like that, I start to realize, I’m like, ‘Man, we’re really in a dogfight right now to get to that position.’ When we played OU, that’s when we talked about it, and that’s what made me realize we dug ourselves in a hole.

“We just gotta keep climbing and figure out a way to get out and hopefully by March we hear our names called and we go play in the Tournament.”

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