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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 84-82 Overtime Loss to Oklahoma

On the outstanding game, the plays that lost it for OSU and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Big 12 Bedlam series ended in supreme heartbreak for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State lost at the buzzer in overtime on Saturday to Oklahoma, falling 84-82. It’s the first time OSU has been swept in Bedlam since the 2018-19 season — Mike Boynton’s second year. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. What An Outstanding Basketball Game

This one is going to sting OSU fans, and it should. That’s what fandom is all about. But, man, that was one heck of a basketball game.

After an offensively inept game in Norman, this game in Stillwater turned into an old-school slugfest. Possession after possession, both teams were getting to the rim and hitting tough shots. Neither team played particularly good interior D, as both teams put up 54 (!!!) points in the paint. But the fact that 108 points in the paint were scored tells how physical this thing was.

The shot-for-shot nature of the game was ridiculous. Usually basketball is referred to as a game of runs, but in the second half and in OT, neither team could get away from the other. No team had a run larger than 4-0 after the first two minutes of the second half. Look at these scoring charts:

That’s outstanding basketball.

This game is what sports are all about, but particularly college basketball. We all just witnessed a game we will talk about for a long time.

“Hell of a college basketball game,” Boynton said. “I’ve been associated with this sport since 2000, when I first got to college, and been a part of a few games that had all the elements of sort of a classic, so to speak. That one certainly ranks up there, and it’s really unfortunate for our guys and our fans who showed up here in a tremendous way and we came up short. …

“[I wanted this] about as much as I wanted any game that I’ve ever played in or coached in. And again because it could be [the last Bedlam]. I hope not. Maybe not. If it is, I certainly didn’t want to lose it. I understand the gravity of the game and the series, what it means to everybody in the state, and I’m certainly disappointed for our fans that we didn’t … one more stop would have been the difference.”

2. The Shot

The Cowboys’ defense wasn’t the best Saturday, but it was about as good as possible on that final shot.

OU coach Porter Moser said the idea was for Javian McCullom to get downhill — something the Sooners didn’t have much trouble achieving most of the afternoon. But on that final possession, Jamyron Keller stonewalled McCollum. In the end, though, McCollum hit an outstanding shot. In a lot of ways, the game ending on a tough bucket was how this thing was always supposed to end.

It felt a lot like Damian Lillard’s soul-crusher against the Thunder in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. It was a guy making a play. And that’s sort of the beautiful part about basketball. You can do everything right, but there is a chance for skill just taking over.

3. Have a Dailey

Eric Dailey had hit a bit of a freshman wall, but he was OSU’s player of the game Saturday.

Dailey finished with 20 points (on 8-for-10 shooting) to go with nine rebounds and four assists. His second half was immaculate on the offensive end, as he was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, had two huge offensive rebounds and recorded three of his assists.

And it was paramount Dailey had a big game, as Brandon Garrison fouled out after just 17 minutes on the floor. That pushed Dailey to playing small-ball center.

This performance comes after Dailey hadn’t scored in double figures since Jan. 23. In the seven games since, Dailey had averaged 4.9 points a game while shooting 39% from the field.

That resurgent performance sort of encapsulates the ups and downs of a freshman season. Keller has had his peaks (the past two games) and valleys (scoring one total point between Jan. 6 and Jan. 27), as has Garrison with a struggle like Saturday compared to scoring 21 points and 14 points, respectively, in OSU’s past two games.

The hope if you’re Mike Boynton and Co. is to be able to develop shallower valleys over the next few years while having more consistent peaks.

4. Plays That Lost OSU the Game

Javon Small missing the front end of a 1-and-1 at the end of regulation is going to be put under a microscope, and I’m not here to defend that.

Would OSU have won this game had he hit at least one of those shots? More than likely, but he went 4-for-4 from the stripe in the final 20 seconds of Wednesday’s game against Cincinnati. Sometimes people miss.

But, there were other, more controllable issues that doomed the Cowboys on Saturday.

At the start of the second half OU got four points on its first possession, and it wasn’t even a traditional 4-point play where a 3-point shooter gets fouled. OSU forced a miss on OU’s first shot of the half, but the Sooners grabbed an offensive rebound. McCollum then hit a jump shot as Jamyron Keller was called for a foul trying to box out. That gave OU the ball back, and the Sooners scored again. Suddenly, OSU’s 38-30 halftime lead was down to 38-34 and the Pokes hadn’t even gotten the ball yet.

Another game-deciding moment came with less than four minutes to play. Jalon Moore made a layup and was fouled, sending him to the line with a chance to tie the game at 70. Instead, Moore missed his foul shot, but Rivaldo Soares came away with an offensive rebound and put it back to give the Sooners their first lead of the second half.

Second-chance points were a big issue for the Pokes, as OU won the stat 21-11. Some of that is tough for the Cowboys without Garrison, but they needed to find a way to be more competitive there than they were. In the second half alone, OU had 12 second-chance points. Cut into that and no one is talking about a missed free throw or a big-time shot.

5. What Is Possible the Next Three Weeks?

The Cowboys have four regular-season games to play, then at least one game in Kansas City.

The brutal nature of Saturday’s game puts a halt to the good vibes the Cowboys were building with their back-to-back wins. OSU’s final four games are against a quartet of teams who have had their ups and downs this season (UCF, at Texas, Texas Tech and at BYU).

The Cowboys aren’t going to make the NCAA Tournament (in case you weren’t aware). People probably won’t want to hear this, but the NIT could be great for this team.

With that being said, OSU would still need to win some games to get into that. Teams are no longer required to have an above .500 record to get into the NIT (the Pokes are 12-15), but getting as far off the bottom of the Big 12 standings as possible would be ideal. And the NIT is only beneficial if the Cowboys can retain their young talent — an issue Boynton has touched on a few times over recent weeks.

I think back to the growth Quion Williams showed in the NIT last season. After averaging 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds as a freshman before the NIT, Williams averaged eight points and 5.3 rebounds a game in the tournament. He was the only freshman on the roster last season, but this year, the Cowboys have five Williamses. How good could some other high-pressure games be for the likes of Dailey, Keller and Garrison?

If you’re ready to blow the whole thing up and start anew, I’m probably not going to convince you otherwise at this point (nor am I trying to). But if you believe in the bright spots that this youthful team has shown over the past few weeks, this would be another opportunity to spring things forward. But to get to that point, the Cowboys still need a strong close to the year.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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