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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 80-76 Victory against Cincinnati

On the road win, Quion Williams’ resurgence and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


For the first time this calendar year, the Cowboys have won back-to-back games.

Oklahoma State beat Cincinnati 80-76 on Wednesday in The Queen City. Here are five thoughts on the contest.

1. A Road Win

For the first time this season, the Cowboys have won in a true road game.

OSU entered Wednesday 0-7 in road contests, falling to Southern Illinois, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Houston and Oklahoma. But at long last, this young group has gone into a hostile environment and won.

OSU started Boynton’s first year 0-5 on the road before winning in Allen Fieldhouse, of all places, on Feb. 3, 2018. This is the latest OSU has won a road game since 2006-07 — the first year under Sean Sutton where the Pokes didn’t win a game on the road.

2. The Quion Williams Resurgence

I couldn’t stop writing about Quion Williams at the beginning of the year, but then he hit a turnover-induced wall that saw him fall out of the starting lineup and almost out of the rotation entirely (he played 13 combined minutes against TCU and West Virginia). Well, he’s back.

Williams nearly messed around and got a triple-double Wednesday, finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He was also a team-best +11 in plus/minus, meaning OSU was 11 points better than the Bearcats while Williams was on the floor.

There was a stretch in the second half where Williams assisted on three straight OSU makes to keep the Cowboys in the game. He also started 5-for-5 from the field.

The one blemish on Williams’ day was his turnover tally, finishing with four, but you’ll take a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio every day of the week, especially on a rare off night in terms of distributing from Javon Small. Small had three assists and six turnovers.

Williams is a shot of energy any time he is on the floor. At one point after a late timeout, he ran down the floor pumping up the away crowd. He’s the right kind of crazy in that nothing seems to bring his energy down.

He was OSU’s fourth-leading scorer Wednesday, but Williams contributions made an impact on winning.

3. Cowboys Survive on the Glass

This is another feather in Williams’ cap, as he was OSU’s leading rebounder.

Cincinnati entered Wednesday as the Big 12’s best-rebounding team, averaging 41.2 a game with a league-best 9.3 rebounding margin. OSU, meanwhile, ranked second to last in rebounds per game and third to last in rebounding margin.

The Bearcats still outrebounded the Pokes, but it was 32-26 — a number you can obviously win with.

The Cowboys are somewhat handicapped on the glass because of their lack of size, which was extra evident Wednesday. Cincinnati’s starters average out to being about 6-foot-6. OSU’s starters average to about two inches shorter than that. On top of that, the Bearcats had 40 minutes played by players 6-10 or taller to OSU’s 31. At 6-foot-8, Eric Dailey Jr. spent much of his time on the floor banging with 7-footers.

So, it was a battle that the Cowboys didn’t necessarily win, but one they fought in hard enough to negate.

4. Free Throws Were Free

In an act of reverse voodoo, play-by-play commentator Eric Rothman kept noting that OSU and Cincy were among the worst teams from the foul line in the conference. Well, the Pokes went 13-for-14 from the stripe in Cincinnati.

That 93% is the best the Cowboys have been this year in games they’ve shot at least six foul shots in.

More importantly, the Pokes were nails from the line down the stretch, going 6-for-6 in the final minute and 11-for-11 in the final four minutes.

OSU entered Wednesday shooting a league-worst 67.9% from the line, but it is an area this young group has improved upon lately. In their past seven games, the Pokes have hit 79% of their foul shots — another sign of growth.

5. Schedule Cooling (Sort Of)

I’m not sure I realized how tough the open to OSU’s conference schedule was until recently — probably because Big 12 schedules are always a slaughterhouse.

But, OSU started the league slate like this:

at Texas Tech
at Iowa State
at Kansas State

OSU went 0-5 during that stretch — a stretch that didn’t include any of the conference newcomers. Well, now the Pokes have back-to-back wins against league newcomers and are about to play back-to-back games in GIA (a building OSU has won three straight in) that are winnable against Oklahoma (Saturday) and UCF (next Wednesday).

I wonder if the perception of this season is any different had some of these wins been distributed closer to the start of Big 12 play — like if OSU started 2-4 instead of 0-6. With that being said, maybe the perception of this season has an opportunity to turn around a little bit as the Cowboys barrel toward the Big 12 Tournament.

It would still take a Central Michigan-esque miracle for OSU to make the NCAA Tournament, but if the Cowboys can close strong, perhaps the portion of the fanbase that jumped off the bandwagon will find their way back on and get excited about guys like Small, Williams, Brandon Garrison, Jamyron Keller and Dailey — all players that could return next season.

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