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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 83-54 Loss to Kansas

It was ugly.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Cowboys went into some heavy Phog and looked like they got lost.

Oklahoma State fell to Kansas 83-54 on Tuesday in Allen Fieldhouse. It was a rough game for the Pokes from start to finish, as the No. 8 Jayhawks led for all but 30 seconds. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. More Woeful Defense

These Jayhawks must love playing the Cowboys.

KU shot 58% from the field Tuesday, the third-highest shooting game the Cowboys have allowed this season (next to Kansas’ 62% and Texas Tech’s 59%). KU has outscored the Cowboys in the paint 90-38 across the teams’ two meetings.

Teams averaged 40% shooting against OSU last season. Thus far this season, teams are shooting 45% against the Pokes. The Pokes simply have a hard time staying in front of people. Sure, the group lost rim protection with Moussa Cisse transferring out, but a lot of the Cowboys’ defensive struggles are starting on the perimeter.

Boynton said the gameplan going into Tuesday was to force the Jayhawks to beat them from deep — and the Jayhawks did. KU went 8-for-18 from 3. KU started 4-for-5 from 3, which is essentially all it took to bust things open.

2. Thompson Goes Down Hard

Bryce Thompson went in for a fastbreak layup attempt about five minutes into the game against Kansas big Hunter Dickinson. Thompson hit the deck, a foul was called and as soon as he hit the hardwood in Allen Fieldhouse, he was squirming.

Thompson stayed down for some time before finally getting up and heading to the locker room. He didn’t return.

“It was significant enough he couldn’t come back,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “But we’ll get back to try to get an MRI or X-ray on it to make sure we know the exact severity of the damage, but it was the shoulder just to clarify that.

“… We hope he’s not out for a significant amount of time, but if he is, we’ll just have to adjust and be ready to compete without him.”

Thompson entered the night as the Cowboys’ second-leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game. He has also developed into a better defender in his time in Stillwater and was a major key in the Cowboys holding Raequan Battle, West Virginia’s leading scorer, to just two points on Saturday.

Not that Thompson would’ve made the 29-point difference Tuesday, but he was averaging 15.8 points a game against his old team. His absence certainly didn’t help, but the Cowboys’ problems spanned much wider than his absence.

3. OSU’s Player of the Game: John-Michael Wright

And it wasn’t particularly close.

Wright scored a team-high 16, going 4-for-10 from deep. He also scored his 2,000th career point Tuesday night (508 at OSU and 1,498 at High Point).

“I’m grateful to be able to hit that mark, a milestone in my career,” Wright said. “… It’s a good feeling, but I would have rather got the dub and had zero points.”

After scoring in double figures in six of OSU’s first seven games, Wright hit a wall, scoring just 2.5 points a game across the Cowboys next eight games. That stretch included three goose eggs.

But he has come on again as of late, as Tuesday was his fourth straight game in double figures. He is shooting 38% from 3 in OSU’s past four games.

4. Garrison Was Aggressive Early

Another part of the Cowboys’ gameplan going in was trying to get Hunter Dickinson — who also scored his 2,000th points Tuesday — into foul trouble.

To try to do that, the Cowboys force fed Brandon Garrison early, and it wasn’t going horribly. Garrison scored the Cowboys’ first seven points. He put up six shots at halftime — going into Tuesday the most he had shot in an entire game was eight, a number he tied against the Jayhawks.

Garrison finished Tuesday with 11 points, five rebounds, an assist and a pair of steals. Pair with his 20-point outing Saturday, this is the first time in Garrison’s young career that he has scored double figures in consecutive games.

5. K-State Is Winnable, but the Pokes Have to Play Better

If the Cowboys can get over the drumming that just took place, they’ll have a chance to pick up conference win No. 2 Saturday as they host Kansas State.

OSU had a 10-point lead on the Wildcats in Manhattan before a grotesque scoring slump saw the Wildcats escape with a 70-66 win.

Since, the Wildcats have lost three straight including a 73-53 loss to Oklahoma on Tuesday in Manhattan. The Wildcats scored just 19 points in the first half against the Sooners.

It’s hard to call anything a must-win game at this point, as it feels like the only chance the Cowboys have at making the NCAA Tournament is winning the Big 12 Tournament. But for the good of the program, the Cowboys need to right this ship at least a little bit. Tanking for a draft pick does the Pokes no good. And a poor finish in Big 12 play doesn’t make a Cinderella road in Kansas City any easier.

“Guess we’re getting close to the halfway point of conference play and need to start trying to put some consecutive wins together if we’re going to get in the thick of this thing,” Boynton said.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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