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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 90-66 Loss to Kansas

Make it three straight blowout losses for the Pokes.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — For the third game in a row, the Cowboys have been ran off the hardwood.

Kansas drummed Oklahoma State 90-66 on Tuesday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Pokes are now 0-4 in the Big 12, and they fell below .500 on the year at 8-9. Here are five thoughts from a game that wasn’t that much of a contest.

1. More Woeful Defense

The Cowboys had just eight rebounds at halftime because rebounds are hard to come by when you’re constantly getting the ball out of the net.

The Jayhawks shot 62% from the field Tuesday, which is their second-best outing of the year behind the 70% they shot against North Carolina Central. Being compared to North Carolina Central is not an ideal thing. Kansas’ worst three shooting outings of the year have come in its other three Big 12 games. So basically, this is the worst defense KU has seen in league play, and it isn’t particularly close.

Mike Boynton was worried about his defense in the preseason, but it had taken steps forward during nonconference play just to fall flat on its face against the Big 12. Through four Big 12 games, teams are averaging 80.3 points a game on the Cowboys while shooting 52% from the field. Ug-lee.

It doesn’t matter what the Cowboys do offensively, or if they have big scoreless stretches, if they can’t stop anyone.

2. The Paint Differential Is Getting Ridiculous

A big part of those grotesque defensive numbers come from teams throttling the Pokes in the paint.

With Kansas’ 46-24 advantage inside Tuesday night, Big 12 teams are outscoring the Pokes in the paint 184-98 in league play.

The Cowboys are running teams off the 3-point line, as teams are just 17-for-56 (30%) from 3 against the Cowboys in Big 12 play. But maybe OSU needs to find a better balance in letting teams shoot from long range when the alternative is giving up points at the rim. It’s proving difficult to win when teams are getting 46 points a game in the paint.

“It’s a problem, there’s no question,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “Gotta go back and reevaluate. We’re taking away 3s, but obviously we’re getting just annihilated there. And literally, it’s all the way at the rim, too. We’re not talking about guys making a bunch of runners or midrange pullups. They’re making, in many cases, uncontested layups.

“We’ve gotta get better guarding the ball at the point of attack. Then we gotta figure out if there’s another defensive scheme that we gotta implore — maybe some zone.”

3. Dickinson vs. Garrison Was Fun

Brandon Garrison is going to be a good player. You can tell because, despite being a freshman, he didn’t look out of place when bumping with All-American Hunter Dickinson in the post.

Dickinson outplayed Garrison, so let’s not get crazy. Dickinson scored 21 points and had seven boards. Garrison had 10 points and five boards. It was career game No. 111 for Dickinson and game No. 17 for Garrison.

On Kansas’ first possession, the Jayhawks went to Dickinson in the low post. Garrison stood his ground as the GIA crowd began to roar each time Dickinson would fail to back the freshman down, but then Dickinson hit a tough hook shot, as good players do, and ran back down the floor letting the crowd know about it. That’s sort of the night it was for Garrison. He’d do well, but the elder Dickinson would just do that much better.

“I think he’s really athletic,” Dickinson said of Garrison. “He’s pretty strong, especially for a freshman, so he’s got a lot of potential. He can be really good if he just continues to work and continues to work on that low post game. I feel like he can have a lot of potential with that. Obviously being a great athlete, that’s always gonna help. So, just continue to stay in the gym, I think, would be really good for him.”

4. Connor Dow Gives Hard Minutes

If you’re looking for a bright spot aside from “it looked like an OSU player belonged on the same floor as a Kansas player,” look no further than Connor Dow.

Brought in as a 3-point specialist, Dow didn’t shoot particularly well Tuesday, going 0-for-3 from 3, but he played hard in his 16 minutes (the most he has played since the season-opener). He finished with five points, two rebounds, a nice assist and a steal.

Dow’s most telling stat of the night was his -1 in plus/minus, meaning Kansas was just one point better than the Cowboys when Dow was on the floor. That’s significant when the Cowboys finished the game down 24.

He was fouled on his first 3-point attempt and made all three of his shots from the line. His nicest play probably came when he drove to the rim in the second half, leapt in the air and ripped a crosscourt pass to Bryce Thompson for a 3-pointer. There was a bit of a scary moment for Dow late, as he skied in trying to grab an offensive rebound and landed hard. He didn’t return, but it didn’t look overly serious.

Dow is long, he’s athletic and he can (most nights) shoot. He needs to find a bit of a quicker release on his shot, but he ought to develop into a solid player, especially if he continues to play as hard as he did Tuesday night.

5. Three Straight Blowouts

The Cowboys have failed to be competitive for a full 40 minutes in their past three games.

It’d be one thing if OSU was 0-4 but grinding out close games, but after an overtime effort against Baylor, the Pokes have lost by 17, 24 and 24. The Cowboys had a 20-11 lead in Lubbock before things went south. In Ames, they led 13-6 about six minutes into the game. But there wasn’t really ever a chance for enthusiasm Tuesday, as Kansas jumped out to a 6-0 lead just a minute and eight seconds into the game and forced Boynton to take a timeout.

The Big 12 is tough, the team is young, but losing three straight games by an average of 21.7 points is blatantly unacceptable — it looks all the more bad when the other three Big 12 games played Tuesday night were decided by a combined 23 points (two went to OT). There were a listed 8,570 in attendance Tuesday night (a decent chunk of that wearing blue). I think the fanbase could get behind a young team that battles hard, but it’s tough to blame a fanbase that elects to not watch their beloved lose by 20.

“It’s no fun — nobody wants to be 0-4,” Boynton said. “Nobody wants to win more than the players and the coaches. What I try to do is just focus on making sure I show up tomorrow and give everything I have as my part to that, and also demand from everybody else that’s in the program to do the exact same thing.

“… I know it’s tough on our fans to watch us lose. I hate it for them.”

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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