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Recap: OSU Survives Round 1 of the NIT, Tops Youngstown State 69-64

The Cowboys avoid disaster, move on to Round 2 of the NIT.



[Twitter: @OSUMBB]

Oklahoma State trailed for just under 30 minutes of the game, but a late surge by Moussa Cisse and some clutch free throws by Caleb Asberry proved to be just enough to keep the Cowboys’ season from ending.

Top-seed Oklahoma State defeated Youngstown State 69-64 in Round 1 of the NIT.

OSU opened up the tournament on the road thanks to staffing issues back home. Youngstown State had not hosted a Power Five opponent on their home floor since 1993 and has never beaten one there, but the Penguins looked poised to make history.

Cisse went to the bench with his second foul at the 13:33 mark and only played six and a half minutes in the first half. With the Cowboys’ touted rim protector off the floor, the Penguins shot 42% from the field in the first half. When he was back in, looks at the rim were much harder to come by and Youngstown State shot just 29% in the second.

Youngstown State head coach Jerrod Calhoun was quoted on the broadcast as stating they would let OSU chuck it up from beyond the arc, and the Pokes didn’t make the Penguins pay. The Cowboys missed their first eight shots from 3 and shot just 21% (4-of-19) on the night. Meanwhile, the Penguins shot 5-of-15 from deep in the first half but finished at 29% (8-of-28).

The Cowboys struggled through a 1-for-11 shooting stretch during the middle of the first half and fell behind by as much as nine before a charge led by Quion Williams and Asberry pulled the Cowboys back in it. Asberry’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer cut the deficit to 37-33 heading into halftime.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, that momentum didn’t carry over into the second half. OSU started just 1-for-4 with that single make a Hail Mary! heave by John-Michael Wright at the end of the shot clock. The Cowboys’ shots did eventually begin to fall, but not before the Penguins built as much as an eight-point lead in the second half.

But the Cowboys chipped away, pulling within 49-47 midway through the second half before finally taking a one-point lead with just under seven minutes to go when Quion Williams muscled his way to an and-one at the rim.

Once he was finally able to see the floor, Cisse made an impact on both sides of the court.

The Cowboys led by as many as eight before Dwayne Cohill made it interesting with a late layup and then Brandon Rush raised the collective blood pressure of Cowboy nation when he stole an OSU inbounds pass and dunked it to make it 67-64 with 11 seconds left. Fortunately for OSU, Asberry secured the subsequent inbounds pass and was fouled and then made both of his shots to ice the game.

Three Cowboys logged double-doubles in one game for the first time since 2009. Williams averaged just two points per game coming in, but he led the Cowboys off the bench with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cisse added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed a game-high 13 boards and blocked two shots in 21 minutes.

Smith scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half and grabbed 12 rebounds, doing most of his damage on second-chance opportunities. That was a big difference in the game. The Cowboys held a 19-10 edge in offensive rebounds and outscored the Penguins 23-10 in second-chance points. OSU also held a 44-28 advantage in paint points.

With the win, Oklahoma State moves to 19-15 on the year and will host Eastern Washington, which defeated Washington State, on Sunday. Time is yet to be determined.

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