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Recap: Oklahoma State Holds Off Texas Tech 71-68 Thanks to a Buzzer-Beating Putback

A win is a win.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

It wasn’t their most stylish victory of late, but a win is a win and the Cowboys have won six in their last seven tries.

Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 71-68 on a last-second putback by John-Michael Wright. Big thanks were also due to a career half from Bryce Thompson and some nice minutes from freshman Quion Williams.

This was a game of runs, mostly fueled by sloppy play and inefficient offense. The Raiders came out red hot, making five of their first seven shots and racing off to a 13-6 lead early, but the script quickly flipped because Bryce Thompson also came out firing.

Thompson scored 12 quick points to fuel an early 20-2 Cowboy run — almost by himself — which saw OSU take a 26-15 lead midway through the first. But Tech fought back with its own 7-0 run in less than two minutes of game time to pull within four. Texas Tech’s Kevin Obanor scored 13 of his 15 points in the first.

With Avery Anderson undergoing surgery on his wrist on Wednesday, Thompson did his best to put Cowboy fans at ease in the first half, and freshman Quion Williams stepped up admirably, as well.

After shooting just 31 percent over the previous five games, Thompson looked like he might not miss at all. He made his first nine shots from the field. His 21 points were a career-best for a half, though he didn’t score again. He finished 9-of-16 (3-of-5 from 3).

Quion Williams had his second double-digit outing as a Cowboy with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. (He scored 11 against Prairie View on Thanksgiving weekend). With Anderson out indefinitely, the Cowboys will need a lot from Williams down the season’s stretch.

Despite Thompson’s hot start, the Cowboys finished the first half 1-for-9 from the floor and were scoreless the last 3:22 of the period. What’s worse, OSU allowed 14 Texas Tech points off of eight turnovers and held onto just a 36-34 lead at the break.

The Cowboys came out of the locker room with a little more focus, but it was short-lived. OSU started the period on an 11-2 run to match their biggest lead in the first five minutes and led by as much as 13 before letting the Red Raiders climb back in again.

While Thompson came out firing on all cylinders, Kalib Boone, the Cowboys’ leading scorer on the year, was limited by Tech’s decision to double-team him. Boone had averaged 17 points and 73 percent shooting over the last six games, but he didn’t score his first points until the second half and didn’t make his first field goal until the final three minutes of the game. He finished with nine points and nine boards but shot just 2-for-6 from the field.

The Cowboys cleaned up the turnovers — only two in the second half — but they settled for a ton of deep shots late, even when the well ran dry. OSU finished 5-for-23 from beyond the arc with plenty of those coming early in the shot clock. The Cowboys went 0-for-9 from deep over the last nearly 14 minutes. This offense looks different when it’s not playing inside-out through Boone.

While Obanor carried the Red Raiders in the first, De’Vion Harmon took the reins in the second. He scored 13 of his 19 in the final period, including several clutch shots. Jaylon Tyson led the Red Raiders with 20 points.

OSU’s woeful shooting from the free-throw line left the door open for Texas Tech to hang around. After going 5-for-6 on charity shots in the first, the Cowboys went 9-of-18 in the second and finished shooting 58 percent from the stripe.

Tech was able to pull within three with less than seven minutes left and OSU’s lead was never more than five the rest of the way. An and-one play by Tyson pulled the Red Raiders to within 65-63 with 2:18 remaining. Kalib Boone’s layup made it 67-63 with 1:18 left but Tyson dialed up a deep shot that pulled Tech to within 67-66 with 59 seconds to go.

Wright split a pair of free throws and then Harmon’s layup tied it up at 68 with 18 seconds to go. But Wright paid it back with a putback on Thompson’s miss to give the Cowboys the lead with 0.8 seconds remaining. Wright made it a three-point play to give OSU the 71-68 win.

With the win, Oklahoma State moves to 15-9. After starting 1-4 in conference play, the Cowboys are now 6-5 and one game out of a tie for second place as of writing. Next up, the Cowboys head to Ames on Saturday for a 5 p.m. tipoff against Iowa State.

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