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OSU’s Slow Big 12 Start Different Than Past Seasons

OSU has had second-half leads in every Big 12 game despite being 1-3.

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[Pool photo by Noah Southard]

The Cowboys had just one second-half lead last season in their 0-8 start in Big 12 play.

Oklahoma State led No. 2 Baylor by 12 last season in GIA before the Bears stormed back and won 75-68. The Cowboys are 1-3 through four league games this season, and the Pokes have had second-half leads in every game.

“Credit to my past to teams the past two years, but the past two years, the games that we were losing at the beginning of games, we were fighting back,” junior guard Isaac Likekele said after the West Virginia loss. “Each game we were fighting back. We’d go down 15, have to fight back, down 14, fight back.

“It’s kind of opposite here. First game against TCU, we up eight, they fought back and beat us. At Texas, we up at half, they fought back beat us. Here tonight, they fought back and beat us.”

The Cowboys lead TCU 76-68 with 2:21 to start their Big 12 season before TCU ended the game on a 9-0 run to win 77-76.

On the road at Texas (a team now ranked No. 4), the Pokes had a halftime lead and led 42-38 with 14:44 to play before the Longhorns ripped off a 17-0 run and eventually won 77-73.

In Lubbock against No. 13 Texas Tech, OSU led by 11 with 16:14 to go before the Red Raiders forced overtime. The Cowboys won that game 82-77.

And then Monday night, OSU led West Virginia 68-49 with 11:15 to go and lost 87-84.

This isn’t the teams of Likekele’s freshman or sophomore seasons where the Cowboys were playing catchup in games hoping to steal one at the end. One could argue that OSU was the better team against TCU, Tech and West Virginia, but the Pokes won just one of those contests.

The Big 12 is one of (if not the) toughest leagues in America. Three Big 12 teams are ranked in the top six of the AP Poll, and another two are in the top 20. After many years of being a Big 12 punching bag, OSU has proven it can scrap with the teams in its league, but this young group hasn’t totally figured out how to win, yet.

“It’s different things than what was going on in the past,” Likekele said. “I’ve never been on the other side of being the better team every game and having to sustain to win. I’ve always been the one fighting up hill. So, it’s kind of different a little bit for me, too. But we’ll figure out how to finish these games. It’s very important that we do. We gotta get it figured out fast.”

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