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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 89-82 Loss at Iowa State

What I learned from the Cowboys’ sixth Big 12 loss in as many tries.

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The Cowboys couldn’t quite get over the Hilton hump, falling to Iowa State 89-82 on the road to move to 0-6 in Big 12 play and 9-9 on the season.

After falling behind by as many as 11 and trailing for all but one minute in the opening period, the Pokes surged late in the first. Thanks to a slew of Cyclone turnovers and a quick — and rare — streak of hot shooting by the Cowboys, the visitors were able to pull within 2 at halftime.

In the second, the Cowboys hung around for about 10 minutes before the home team started to pull away, thanks to some lights-out perimeter shooting by ISU and some all too familiar scoring droughts by OSU. The Pokes fought back to within 5 in the final minute but it was too little, too late.

Let’s jump into five thoughts after the Cowboys’ sixth conference loss.

1. Turnovers Nice, But Not Enough

We can start by looking at one of the few bright statistical spots for OSU. The Cowboys forced the Cyclones into 19 turnovers and gave up just eight of their own. More importantly, the Pokes scored 32 points off of those takeaways compared to 11 scored by ISU on its.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that is without those turnovers they probably get blown out. More on that below.

2. Just Shy of History

This probably won’t move the needle for fans (or No. 12), but with Cam McGriff’s 12 points, he is one away from joining the career 1,000-point club. He and Lindy Waters will become just the second pair of Cowboy teammates to reach 1,000 career points in the same season joining Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash.

Maybe it’s a good thing it didn’t happen tonight. If that was something you get excited about you’d rather reach that milestone in a win. Or maybe he gets it and the Cowboys are a little closer to one.

3. Offensive Woes Continue

It was bad, again, and the blame falls on more than just Cam’s broad shoulders.

Coming into this game ISU ranked last in the league in field-goal percentage allowed (44.4 percent) as a defense and Oklahoma State came in ranked last in field-goal percentage (40.5 percent) as an offense. Something had to give, right? Nope, they just split the difference. OSU went 26-69 from the field (42 percent), and that was with the Cowboys making nine of their last 14 over the last four-plus minutes and six of nine in the last two.

Oklahoma State just couldn’t manufacture points for long stretches of the game. Basically, if this team is not getting out in transition or a couple of guys aren’t just shooting out of their minds from deep, there is no offense.

4. Dead by the 3

Before 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, the Cyclones ranked 289th in the nation shooting just 30.9 percent from 3-point range, but they spent a good chunk of the night looking like the 2015 Golden State Warriors. Tyrese Haliburton played the part of Steph Curry drilling 6-of-9 including one just a couple of steps across halfcourt. Rasir Bolton was Klay, knocking down four of his six deep balls, including the a 3-for-3 stretch to score the Cyclones’ first 9 points.

Overall all the ‘Clones shot 11-for 24 from beyond the arc. That’s twice in the last three outings that the Cowboys have given up over 45 percent from 3. Not a winning strategy when your own points are hard to come by.

5. Yor Anei Continues to Struggle

A first-half Google search told me that Solomon Young is two inches shorter and just six pounds heavier than Yor Anei. My eyeballs told me a different story. I saw Shaq backing down Shawn Bradley.

Young easily pushed Yor off the block and was constantly winning the battle for paint real estate. What’s worse, sometimes it was because Yor was gambling for a steal or just found himself out of position.

Yor’s 10 minutes against Iowa State were higher than only his eight against Texas last week thanks to what has become his calling card, a propensity to accumulate fouls in bunches. With Yor on the bench, Young torched Cam McGriff as well on the way to a career-high 27 points on eight shots! as well as nine boards and two blocks.

Until Yor finds a way to stay in the game — and be effective while on the court — the Cowboys are going to continue to get housed in the lane by Big 12 frontcourts.

 

 

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