Oklahoma State last hoisted the Big 12 tournament championship trophy on March 13, 2005, when Joey Graham led the charge in a win over Texas Tech. Thanks to freshman phenom Cade Cunningham, the Cowboys will have a chance cut down the nets again, 16 years to the day since their last title.
Cunningham had a team-high 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists as No. 12 Oklahoma State defeated No. 2 Baylor, 83-74, in Friday night's Big 12 tournament semifinal. It was just the second loss of the season for the Bears, who won the Big 12's regular season championship.
It was the sixth 25-point game this season for Cunningham, who earlier this week took home Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. It was his fourth game with at least 20 points and eight rebounds.
Cunningham got off to a slow start, with just five points in the first half. The Cowboys controlled the game despite his relatively meager contributions, leading 35-30 at the break thanks to their strong defensive effort. Oklahoma State held Baylor to 2-for-13 shooting on 3-point attempts in the first half. Coming into the game, the Bears were shooting 42.8% on 3-pointers as a team, tops in the nation.
Picking up the slack offensively for Oklahoma State was sophomore guard Avery Anderson III. Anderson finished the game with 20 points and five rebounds on 8-for-13 shooting.
Baylor led by eight with just under eight minutes left when Oklahoma State caught fire on the offensive end. The Cowboys ended the game on a 31-14 run, taking the lead for good on Anderson's layup and free throw with 2:09 to go.
Oklahoma State will take on No. 13 Texas in Saturday's championship game. The Longhorns advanced after Kansas was forced to withdraw from the tournament following a positive COVID-19 test result.