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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 90-73 Loss to Texas Tech

The Cowboys’ defense was bad (bad, bad) on Tuesday in Lubbock.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


The Cowboys looked ready to build off an impressive performance against Baylor on Saturday — for about eight minutes.

Oklahoma State got ran out of United Supermarkets Arena on Tuesday, falling to Texas Tech 90-73. The Cowboys started the game with a 7-0 lead and led 20-11 midway through the first half before Tech took over.

The Cowboys fell to 8-7 on the season and 0-2 in Big 12 play. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. Good Start Gone Bad

The Cowboys started this game with an 11-3 lead in which every starter contributed a bucket.

That lead ballooned up to 20-11 until everything went south for the Cowboys in west Texas. The Red Raiders rattled off a measly 19-2 run — part of a stretch that saw OSU score four points in about nine minutes on the floor.

OSU started the game 8-for-11 from the field. From there, the Pokes finished the half 4-for-18.

A big turning point honestly seemed to be when Mike Boynton went to his bench for the first time. With 12:18 left in the first half, Boynton made his first subs of the game, bringing in Mike Marsh and Jarius Hicklen. OSU had its 20-11 lead at that time before the aforementioned collapse. The Cowboys got some bench production going midway through the second half with John-Michael Wright and Hicklen bombing 3s to try to get back into things. The issue with that group is that it isn’t as good defensively.

OSU finished the game with 26 bench points, but 23 of those came in the second half with Wright and Hicklen combing for 20 while OSU was down for about 15 most of the frame. A Connor Dow 3 was the only bucket a bench player scored in the first half.

2. Bad Defensive Night

In a game where OSU held Tech to 1-for-6 shooting to start, the Red Raiders ended up shooting a ridiculous 59% from the field and scoring 90 points — both season-worsts for the Pokes’ defense.

The Cowboys’ D had taken some steps forward in the latter portion of the nonconference schedule. Baylor shot 43% on Saturday, but the Bears are one of the most prolific offenses in college basketball. The Cowboys held four of their past five nonconference opponents below 40% field-goal shooting. But the Red Raiders got nearly everything they wanted whenever they wanted it.

A lot of that poor defense has to do with my next thought.

3. Another Slaughter in the Paint

In two Big 12 games, OSU has been outscored in the paint 96-60.

The Red Raiders pounded the Cowboys to the tune of 46 paint points Tuesday, compared to the 24 OSU put up. There is a bit of a caveat to that because OSU shot 13 second-half 3s to try  to get back into the game, but the point is moreso the fact that OSU is giving up too much in the paint.

Some of that has to do with the fact that OSU’s starting frontcourt (Brandon Garrison and Eric Dailey Jr.) are both true freshmen, but the Cowboys have struggled in pick-and-roll defense in two Big 12 games. It’s resulted in a lot of open looks at the basket.

4. Brandon Garrison Welcomed Back to Earth

After an outstanding Big 12 debut, Brandon Garrison was a team-worst -17 on Tuesday, meaning the Red Raiders were 17 points better than OSU when Garrison was on the floor.

Garrison had just four points and five rebounds while Tech center Warren Washington scored 16 points and was a game-best +16 in plus/minus. Washington is a super senior and was playing in his 124th college basketball game. It was Garrison’s 15th college game.

It would’ve been cool had Garrison played as well as he did Saturday for the rest of his career, but the fact of the matter is Garrison is still a freshman. There will be peaks and valleys as he gains consistency throughout his career. Unfortunately for OSU, it feels like a lot of its issues could be fixed with experience. As Garrison gains experience, OSU’s presence in the paint will be more pronounced, which will fix a lot of defensive struggles.

5. What’s Next?

Oh, just a game in Hilton Coliseum where No. 2 Houston (the last unbeaten team in college basketball) lost on Tuesday.

For what it’s worth, the Cowboys have come home with Ws in their past three trips to Hilton. But Tuesday’s game was just this OSU team’s second true road game of the season, and the Cowboys have now lost both of those games (the other being Southern Illinois).

If you’re perhaps wondering “When the heck is this team going to win again?” KenPom projected before Tuesday’s game that OSU’s next win would come Jan. 27 at home against West Virginia. That would be an 0-6 start to Big 12 play. It might not come to that. If the Cowboys can play like they did against Baylor on Saturday, they’ll be competitive in every game they play in. If they play as poorly defensively as they did Tuesday, they could lose to just about anybody.

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