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OSU cools streaky Baylor, 71-60

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The Story
On a night in which four years of achievement are supposed to be honored by the hoisting of a framed jersey in a manner that could never possibly encapsulate the lifetime of work jammed into a college career, Marshall Moses said it better with his yeoman-like 16-10-2-2-1 performance. After the game he also verbally noted,

If this game was a couple of years ago I probably would have been acting crazy. Even though this is my last home game here and I love Gallagher-Iba (Arena), this is not our last game and we’re going to fight until that last game. So I wanted to take more of a business approach instead of an emotional approach. You can’t think like that because you’ll go out there and take bad shots or things like that. I just wanted to focus on beating a really good team on our home floor.

That mastery of the seemingly redundant, score-rebound-outlet, is what’s made the 6’6” Senior from Aiken, South Carolina such a beloved figure in his last two seasons in Stillwater. Couple that effort from him with an ice-cold 2-16 performance from LaceDarius Dunn, who was gunning for the all-time Big 12 scoring record and you come up with a nice little formula for sending the Seniors out in style.

OSU battled through a somewhat-normal-for-them 36% shooting mark in the first half and drew within three at the break. Can we stop for a minute and talk about how hard it is to get a feel for some of these games lately in GIA. At first I thought it was just because I was either a terrible writer or evaluator of collegiate basketball but I’ve come to think that it’s actually because there’s no rhythm from the crowd. Momentum is transparent, runs leave you feeling bland, nothing is as tangible as it should be.

For whatever reason though, the Cowboys really got it going in the second half despite the lack of support. There were times in that second period when I really got excited about watching them play — there haven’t been many moments this year that I could truly say that about these guys.

Their defense was ridiculous and really put an exclamation point on the question we’ve been asking all year, “something’s off, what are these guys missing?” What they’ve been missing is that in-your-face “there’s no WAY you’re getting your Big 12 record in our house tonight” D that was on full display. That type of defense creates energy and, more importantly, creates offensive seams for this team to get up and down and run and gun a little bit.

Speaking of run and gun, I thought at one point in the second half Keiton kind of just said, “screw it, screw LaceDarius, I’m the best shooter in this building” and started yanking from a body-length (well, his body-length) beyond the NBA line. He felt it too. It was good to see.

The Cowboys held the Bears to a measly 30% shooting in the second frame which really helped shape the last eight minutes when they outscored them 22-12. It came from all over too: Keiton threes, Pilgrim slams, JPO fadeaways, for one of the only times this year this team was in a groove.

When it was over
Pilgrim had a monster slam with 1:07 left to put the Pokes up ten. I loved seeing Ford give him, Marshall, and Sidorakis their moments at the end of the game when he took them out to standing ovations. I was standing in my mind, applauding the effort they’ve displayed and glad Ford did that for them, they deserved it.

Player of the game
Markel Brown — partly because I have a quasi-man crush on him and have the entire year and partly because he had a MONSTER 10-6-4-5-1 line. Moses agrees with me too,

Markel is a freak athlete. Sometimes he makes coverage on a shot that other guys just can’t. When a guy is beat, a lot of times that’s a basket, especially guarding a guy like LaceDarius Dunn, who is about to be the all-time leading scorer in the Big 12. Markel is a gifted guy. He mixes with that the heart and desire to want to get stops. He likes getting stops. He’s a special kid. I’ve never seen anybody jump like that or make plays like that, especially as a freshman

Stat that explained it
Perry Jones and LaceDarius Dunn went a combined 4-24 from the field. You’re going to win about 100% of the time that happens.

The rest of my notes

  • I watched the game with some Baylor fans who implored me to write about how AJ Walton is the worst point guard in the country, so there you go. And it’s hard to argue, makes me not want to complain about our PG situation anymore.
  • I thought JPO’s all-orange shoes and Lace’s all-yellow shoes were performing together at halftime.
  • Has Lace always not jumped on his threes?
  • It’s incredible OSU played as well as they did on defense for how long Baylor is. Markel had a couple of blocks that were absolutely insane, notably the one on Lace at the very end of the game. Your two guard should not be jumping like that.
  • Baylor’s zone is not very good, the middle of the lane always seemed open. I felt like Moses could have hit Pilgrim like 77 times for layups.
  • I Loved the “who was your favorite player to get the ball to?” question to Gottlieb. I also loved how he just dismissed Desmond like that makes it not a fair question. And I appreciated the shout out to (the original) Adrian Peterson — in the conversation for best scorer OSU has ever had.
  • I like Acy, he reminds me of an extremely athletic Mario Boggan.
  • Why did we talk to Joe Lunardi for 15 minutes? Was that really necessary?

What it means
It means that, based on how well this team played in the second half tonight, I have no doubt it could make some noise in the Dance. Unfortunately they’ll never get that chance because of two 1-point games and the debacle in Boulder. Alas.

Next game: Bedlam in Norman on Saturday

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