Cowboys Struggle Without Likekele, Fall to Georgetown 81-74
STILLWATER – The Cowboys were without their starting point guard, Isaac Likekele, who woke up with a fever on Wednesday morning and was too sick to dress out. It was a presence that was missed throughout the course of the game as the Pokes fell to Georgetown 81-74. Boynton and Co. had to go with the combo of freshmen Chris Harris and Avery Anderson to fill the void.
With the loss, Oklahoma State moves to 7-1 on the season.
"Georgetown is a good team,” said head coach Mike Boynton. “We lost to a very good basketball team that is well-coached. They've got a lot of pride; they always play that way. They got the better of us, particularly on the glass. Matt McClung got going and he was really comfortable tonight. The defensive effort was not near where it needed to be for us to have success in these types of games. A lot of people will say that Isaac Likekele wasn't here. We still had chances and opportunities in the game. We had a five-point lead at some point, we could have stretched that to 10. We didn't rebound the ball with the focus and the commitment we needed to. We got ourselves in a jam offensively late because we were down a playmaker."
You could sense the lack of Likekele very early on in the first half as the Cowboys suffered nine turnovers, four of which came from freshman point guard Avery Anderson. The Cowboys also got in early foul trouble as big man Yor Anei played 3:41 of the first half. Anei wouldn’t hit his first bucket until late in the second half.
While the Pokes were outscored in the paint in the first half 14-8, they did outrebound the Hoyas 22-18 in the first half. However, as the game wore, the Hoyas bounced back from that deficit and outrebounded the Cowboys 43-29. On the game, the Cowboys turned the ball over just three more times, up to 12, but they were sloppy turnovers in rather key situations.
It was senior Lindy Waters who led the way for the Cowboys as he set a career-high 29 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. He also hauled in six rebounds, six assists and one steal. But there just wasn’t enough to overcome a career-high by Georgetown guard Mac McClung. McClung put up 33 points, including 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line.
As for Likekele’s replacement, Chris Harris in his first start of the season, had a solid performance. The freshman put up 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers, three rebounds and one assist.
Five minutes into the second half, Oklahoma State started to heat up. With back-to-back three pointers from Thomas Dziagwa, coupled with a bad pass that led to a turnover by Georgetown, the Cowboys pulled the game back within one point, 46-45. Fast forward a few minutes and with an and-one layup by Yor Anei, his first points of the game, the Cowboys took their first lead since early in the first half.
Just a few plays later, Chris Harris stole an in-bounds pass and took it the length of the court to finish with a very acrobatic layup to give the Pokes their largest lead of the night, 53-48. But with every Cowboy bucket or run, Georgetown had an answer as they were able to pull away late.
"I think for a stretch, we did lock in defensively,” said coach Boynton. “We were able to get some baskets in transition. We scored 74 points at home, it should have been good enough if we had locked in defensively. They got good players. Give them credit, they outplayed us. This is an opportunity for us to go through some adversity, grow and try to be better."
"This is the first time this young team has seen adversity,” said Lindy Waters. “It's just a learning experience. Tomorrow we just have to get back to work and move on to the next one. It's a long season so we have to take it one game at a time."
Oklahoma State’s next time out is on Sunday, Dec. 8 in Stillwater against Wichita State. Tipoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU.