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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 93-83 Victory against No. 19 BYU

On Keller, OSU beating BYU at its own game and the wild week that was.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Cowboys didn’t have a midweek game this week, but there was some noise inside and outside of the hallowed halls of Gallagher-Iba Arena. Logically, the Cowboys turned the wild week into perhaps their best win of the season.

Oklahoma State toppled BYU 93-83 on Saturday. The Cougars came to Stillwater ranked 19th in the AP Poll and ninth in the NET. Meanwhile, the Cowboys had some patchwork practice time as the flu ran through the locker room, and OSU coach Mike Boynton made some comments this week that caused a stir regarding OSU’s position in the NIL landscape.

Still, the Cowboys came out and never trailed the Cougars on the way to OSU’s third conference win of the season. Here are five thoughts on the game.

1. Happy Birthday, Jamyron Keller

Jamyron Keller turned 19 on Saturday, and it looked like he was playing a video game in his first career start.

A freshman, Keller scored a game-high (and career-high) 22 points while going 8-for-8 from the field, 4-for-4 from 3 and 2-for-2 from the foul line.

He had eight points in the first 3:30 of the game, hitting a pair of 3s with a layup in between. He was also active on the defensive end with a pair of steals and a few more deflections.

Going 4-for-4 from 3 sounds impressive, but Keller’s most impressive buckets of the game came when he was attacking the rim. He had a pair of and-ones on the day. His first came late in the first half, where after a steal-causing deflection on defense, Keller ran the floor and got the ball back from John-Michael Wright. Keller banged up against Trey Stewart and laid it in with the foul.

The Cowboys have struggled to keep ahold of leads this season, and BYU was trying its darndest to give another example of that Saturday. OSU’s lead was down to single digits, and it felt like the Cougars were on the brink of a run. But then Keller pulled off another Houdini act.

His game stands out because of his offensive numbers, but Keller does a lot well. He’s a bulldog on the defensive end, and his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame makes it tough for opponents to push the freshman around.

“It was easy with support from my teammates,” Keller said. “We were down a little bit, the week leading up to this, so it was a collective effort. I can’t take all the credit for it. It was just the right plays were made, and the ball was falling today.”

2. The End of the First Half Was Huge

BYU went on a seven-minute stretch toward the end of the first half that saw the Cougars outscore the Pokes 14-6 and cut OSU’s lead down to 41-34 with 1:20 left in the half.

It was the type of momentum-swinging stretch that the Cowboys have been on the opposite end of a lot this season, but then the Cowboys swiftly answered.

Across the final 1:15 of the half, OSU went on an 8-0 run. The scoring came from a Javon Small 3, Keller’s aforementioned and-one and a put-back bucket from Quion Williams in the half’s final seconds. So instead of going into the locker room with a dwindling seven-point lead, OSU went in with a growing 15-point lead. That felt like the stretch where the Cowboys stood up and said they were winning this game.

3. Cowboys Sort of Beat BYU at Its Own Game

The Big 12, this season, hasn’t played at a break-neck pace, but among conference members, BYU plays fairly quickly.

The Cougars entered Saturday averaging 83.4 points a game (best in the Big 12) and ranked 86th nationally in KenPom’s adjusted tempo (second-quickest in the Big 12). And the Cowboys slaughtered the Cougars from deep and played well in the brisk tempo.

Entering Saturday, BYU ranked second nationally in 3s attempted per game with 32.2. The Cougars shot 35 against OSU but only managed to get eight to fall — shooting 23% from deep. OSU put up 22 3s (which is under its season average of 25.2) and hit 11 of those — shooting 50% from deep. Keller going 4-for-4 certainly helped that stat, but Wright added a trio of triples. Jarius Hicklen and Javon Small also hit two apiece.

As for tempo, the Cowboys entered the game ranking 202nd nationally in KenPoms adjusted tempo. But OSU converted 12 fastbreak points against BYU after mustering only five last week against the Sooners. OSU is now 3-2 in Big 12 games where the Cowboys score double-digit fastbreak points with all three of those wins coming in the past three of those instances.

“We’ve usually been one of the faster-playing teams in the league, but it’s become a such a grinding, physical, defensive league,” Boynton said. “It’s easier to slow a game down than it is to speed it up. …

“I thought today, we really took advantage of our athleticism and got out and attacked downhill by getting some pitch aheads. Jamyron Keller set the tone in that regard for us.”

4. The Future?

Two OSU freshmen combined to score 43 points on 15-for-16 shooting to win a game against a team ranked in the top 10 of the NET. Quite a stat.

To compliment Keller’s breakout day, Brandon Garrison added 21 points on 7-for-8 shooting while also bringing down five boards, a pair of steals and a block. It was a career-high in points for Garrison, but it isn’t necessarily headline news when he goes off at this point, as it was his third game in the 20s as a freshman.

Among the NIL-related topics Boynton discussed this week, he mentioned OSU fans should invest in the players and his difficulty retaining players in the NIL landscape. Two freshmen going 15-for-16 with 43 points against a ranked team will likely raise a few eyebrows. Dekota jokingly tweeted about Keller playing for TCU next season after the Horned Frogs have taken players off OSU’s past two teams.

All that isn’t to say the two are actively being poached — though Boynton said people are probably contacting Garrison earlier this week — but it could turn into an example of what Boynton was talking about and the need for keeping this young, talented group together.

“It could become a lot of good things if we all stay together — which we will,” Garrison said. “I feel like we can do some big things here at OSU that haven’t been done before.”

“We’re trying to put a banner up in the gym,” Keller added. “Wrestling, we see y’all, but it’s time for basketball to put one up.”

5. A Wild Week Ends in a Big Win

This past week was the Cowboys’ break from midweek action, but it turned into anything but a break.

For starters, the flu ran rampant through the locker room, catching different players at different times. Boynton said Wright didn’t practice this week before scoring 13 points against the Cougars.

To add to the illnesses, Boynton’s NIL comments dusted up a lot more noise surrounding the program. I’m not going to rehash all that, but all of that going on made the already impressive win all the more impressive.

“Obviously the flu is something I won’t say they don’t pay attention to — it was them; they had the flu,” Boynton said. “But I think the other stuff, I don’t know how much they pay attention to it, in all honesty. I’m just really proud that they were able to focus when they got back — the guys that came back Wednesday or Thursday or the ones who weren’t even back until today.”

Barring a movie script run in Kansas City, OSU’s season is going to end at the Big 12 Tournament. But I’m done trying to fully figure out this young group because just when you think you know what the Cowboys are going to do next, they get a double-digit win and score 93 points against a highly touted team.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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