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Superlatives from Oklahoma State’s Bedlam Sweep

Cade is the coldest man in this history of Bedlam.



[Photo via Courtney Bay/Oklahoma State Athletics]

As rare at is for Oklahoma State and Oklahoma to play consecutive games, essentially over a weekend, and as rare as the regular season sweep is (more on that below), I thought this would be a great time to revisit the whirlwind of dust that those orange brooms swept up.

Let’s take a look at some of the high points from OSU’s 2-0 stretch against OU.

Best Performance (Not by Cade)

No one was more consistent across that two-game stretch than Bryce Williams. The Florida native who’s played at three schools in the last three years has officially put roots down in Stillwater, and he’s endeared himself to the locals.

Williams had toughed out an inconsistent stretch coming into Bedlam 1 but followed up his 15 points in Norman with 14 more on Senior Night. He hit multiple huge 3s in both games and singlehandedly dug the Cowboys out of alarming deficits with one-man eight-point runs in each, all while playing some pretty good defense on Sooner assassin Austin Reaves.

Williams has not decided if he’ll take up the NCAA on its extended eligibility and stick around for another year, but regardless of what his future holds he should never have to pay for a drink or a meal in Stillwater.

Best Heel

Every big rivalry needs a face for fans to loathe, and Austin Reaves’ contorted mug perfectly fits the bill.

Reaves started out 1-of-6 from the field and was playing a bit out of control, much to GIA’s delight. When he darted into the paint to lay down a rim-punishing slam on the Loyal and True, the ball bounced about 30 feet in the air off the back of the iron. The miss was played multiple times on GIA’s big screen. The home crowd loved it. Later Reaves was issued a flop warning by officials and the orange-clad went nuts.

Reaves did find his stroke down the stretch and finished with 19 to follow up his 22 in Norman. But you can’t love to hate to someone if you don’t have a reason to hate them to start with.

Best Coaching Performance

The easy answer is the coach that went 2-0, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

Lon Kruger wasn’t going to let OSU’s best player drop 80 on his team over a weekend and did a masterful job of denying Cade the ball for most of the night. If Bryce Williams and Kalib Boone are going to beat you, so be it. “Hold my clipboard,” said Mike Boynton.

Boynton adjusted to Kruger’s adjustment and used Cade as a decoy late which opened up opportunities for the Cowboys’ “others.” Cade is able to create shots for himself or others and good coach knows that and takes advantage of it.

Boynton continues to prove his own coaching chops and he’s ground his teeth against some of the best coaches in the nation over his four seasons in the Big 12.

Early in his tenure, Boynton was an unabashed bastion of man defense, but he’s grown to be adroit at switching between man and zone while folding in different looks to take the opposition’s best players out of their games.

Most importantly, OSU is playing better basketball toward the end of the season routinely during Boynton’s tenure (the Cowboys have won five straight) and it’s finding a way to win close games. OSU is 8-4 in games decided by 5 or less and 4-0 in overtime. That’s a recipe for a scary matchup come Tournament time.

An Historic Sweep

Mike Boynton joined rare company on Monday night as just the fifth OSU coach to complete a regular season sweep of Oklahoma. (Sports Reference provides data back to 1949-50.)

Even more significant, Boynton is the only one on that list to have done it against a ranked Sooner squad both times (Nos. 7 and 16). Sutton’s 2003-04 team beat No. 11 OU in the first leg of Bedlam but the Sooners had dropped out of the Top 25 by Round 2 that year.

Best Footwork in Bedlam

Kalib Boone has grown into one of the better low-post scorers to come through Stillwater in some time. Here he is channeling his best Dream Shake.

Boone still has the opportunity to add strength, though he’ll never be a bruiser on the block. But I can envision a Hakeem-lite roaming the paint for OSU over the next two years, and it’s pretty exciting.

The Coldest Man in Bedlam History: Cade Cunningham

Maybe it’s because we rarely see back-to-back Bedlams — or my recency bias mixed with my failing memory — but I can’t think of another Cowboy to remain this cool under pressure against OU (or otherwise) than No. 2.

He is the Cowboys’ closer and he didn’t need to be in the zone offensively to confidently stroll to the line and ice the Sooners two games in a row. On Saturday in Norman, Cade missed his first free throw and then proceeded to make his last 13, many late in an overtime win. Then on Monday, despite seeing more double coverage than Tylan Wallace and never really finding an offensive rhythm, Cade made 9-of-10 free ones including his final six.

Lon Kruger called his last timeout during that final trip to the line. Cade nonchalantly made his way to the sideline, waited his turn and then strolled back out to the stripe and buried the Sooners with six seconds left.

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