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Recap: Cowboys’ Comeback Attempt Comes Just Short, OSU Falls to No. 7 Baylor 74-68

The Cowboys’ impressive late push is not quite enough.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys needed a win in the worst way, but they weren’t able to shake some flaws that have become all too frequent this season. Though, they put up one heck of a fight late.

Oklahoma State fell to No. 7 Baylor 74-68, in their final home game of the season. OSU trailed by 19 with five minutes left but a late surge saw the Cowboy pull within four with 35 seconds remaining. They were this close to a historic comeback.

The Cowboys came in ranked ninth in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage, and the Bears read the scouting report. Seven of OSU’s first 10 shots were from beyond the arc. Most of them wide open. None of them good. The Cowboys found themselves down by 10 less than six minutes into the game before John-Michael Wright and Quion Williams knocked down consecutive deep balls — an early aberration that got the crowd going and helped spark a mini-comeback.

The Cowboys surged back with effort but lost ground with a lack of execution.

OSU bested Baylor 13-5 on the offensive glass in the first half and pulled back within three at the 9:11 mark and then again at 6:49. Tyreek Smith bullied the Bears in his 10 first-half minutes, scoring four, grabbing six rebounds (four offensive boards) and blocked a shot.

Unfortunately, the Bears went on a 19-4 run in the back end of the first half to take back control. It’s tough to trade 3-pointers with the Bears. OSU shot 4-of-18 from 3 in the first half compared to the conference’s top 3-point shooting team Baylor (8-of-16) and the Bears pulled back away, taking an 11-point lead into halftime.

A disturbing trend of missed shots and opportunities continued on Monday. After a 3-of-4 start to the second half, OSU made just one shot in 12 from the field, including missing five-straight shots at the basket. That was enough for Baylor to take control of the game.

The Bears settled down to an 11-of-31 finish from 3 edging out OSU’s 9-for-32 mark. It was one shy of the Cowboys’ season high in 3-point attempts. The Cowboys owned the offensive glass (22-13) but only converted those boards into 10 second-chance points.

With nothing to lose, the Cowboys went to a pressure defense and turned Baylor’s miscues into nine-straight points in just 1:41 to pull within nine points with 1:11 to go.

After inconsistent shooting all night, OSU made five-straight shots to make this a ball game. Consecutive 3s made by Wright and Bryce Thompson and Wright pulled the Pokes within 69-65 with 35 seconds left capping a 15-2 run. Given the time, the Cowboys had to play the foul game, but Dale Bonner made three of his four attempts to help ice the game. But this was just another tipped ball or two away from the Cowboys pulling off a historic win. The key would obviously be to not find yourself down 19 with five minutes to go, but you can’t say this team doesn’t fight.

Wright led the Cowboys with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He was one of the main offenders when it came to missed deep shots, but he also did his best to make up for them late, knocking down a pair of 3s in the last couple of minutes to put the Pokes back in it.

Williams played his best game as a Cowboy, scoring a career-high 12 points on just eight shots. He shared the team lead with Smith with six rebounds (four offensive) and dished out two assists. He was active and, more times than not, found himself in the right place at the right time. Caleb Asberry pitched in a dozen points himself to go with five assists and four boards.

With the loss, Oklahoma State moves to 16-14 on the year and 7-10 in the Big 12. The Cowboys’ 11-5 home record is their best since Mike Boynton’s first season in 2017-18.

According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, OSU came in as his last team into the NCAA Tournament. During the ESPN halftime show, Lunardi implied that a loss to Baylor would drop the Pokes out of the field for the time being. The Cowboys will get one more chance to strengthen their resume on Saturday before the conference tournament next week. They finish their regular season against a surging Texas Tech team in Lubbock at 5 p.m.

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