Five Factors in Oklahoma State's 76-64 Home Loss to Texas
STILLWATER -- There's no easy way to say it, and there's no sense in beating around the bush, the Cowboys need a win in the worst way. Wednesday's 76-64 loss to Texas marked fourth-straight Big 12 loss, and are 2-7 in their last nine games.
Over the course of that stretch, the Cowboys are about even when it comes to offensive struggles, except for a few games, and being stout on the defensive end, except for a few games.
This was one of the games where the Cowboys played well on the offensive end, yet struggled to contain Texas on the defensive end.
Something we're going to be doing after each game now is taking a look at five factors, good and bad, that went into a win or a loss.
FACTOR No. 1: The Freshmen Played Very Well, Especially Kalib Boone
It was nice to see senior Lindy Waters make some buckets tonight, especially from three-point range, but there's no doubt that freshman Kalib Boone was the player of the game. He finished with a team-high, and career-high, 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field , including 2-of-4 from the free throw line, also a career-high. He also hauled in seven rebounds and one steal, both career-highs.
"I feel great," said freshman Kalib Boone. "I've got leaders like Thomas [Dziagwa], Lindy [Waters], Cam [McGriff], that's been through the fire. I've got Yor [Anei] that tells me 'Bro, we need you, you just need to bring that spark.' I see Avery [Anderson], he's the perfect example, he's comes in everyday and brings that spark at the point guard. Every time I get out there, I just feel like I need to be a presence for the post and today, that's how it felt."
FACTOR No. 2: Isaac Likekele is Starting to Find His Groove
Was this Likekele's best game of his career? No, not even close. But after missing a month with what was believed to be mono, and then struggling from the floor the past two games while trying to get back to full health, tonight's game against Texas showed he's getting back to his old self.
While he couldn't fully get to the bucket, he was getting in the lane a lot more easy. He finished the game with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting, 3-of-4 from the free throw line, but he hauled in four rebounds and dished out five assists.
Maybe not the shooting line, but the growing number of rebounds and assists for Likekele are definitely a step in the right direction.
FACTOR No. 3: They Flipped the Script and Struggled on the Defensive End
Like I mentioned above, this was one of the rare games this season where the Pokes really struggled on the defensive end. They did alright in the first half as they held Texas to under 40 percent from the field, but Texas turned up the heat in the second half.
“I thought the effort was good,” said head coach Mike Boynton. “The execution was not great because the threes they were getting were wide open. We had multiple communication breakdowns, which part of that comes from guys playing significant minutes for the first time and they’re not used to having to communicate constantly. At the end of the day, Texas was the better team tonight and they deserved the victory.”
The Longhorns hit seven 3-pointers tonight, with the majority of them coming off ball screens. That's where the communication breakdowns came that coach Boynton mentioned. Texas finished the night shooting nearly 50 percent from both the field and from beyond the 3-point line.
FACTOR No. 4: The Offense Showed Up Tonight and It Was NICE
The Cowboys struggled early on in the first half as they were shooting 17 percent from the field with just four points in the first five and a half minutes of the first half.
But then for what seems like for the first time in a long time, Thomas Dziagwa nailed a three, Kalib Boone was fouled and sent to the line where he made one of two free throws, Keylan Boone nailed a put back shot, which was followed by another three by Dziagwa which prompted a Texas timeout.
The Pokes would go on a few of those mini runs throughout the night with most of the sparks coming from the freshman group of Keylan and Kalib Boone, Chris Harris Jr. and Avery Anderson. That foursome combined for 32 of the Pokes' 64 points on the night.
There were two instances where the crowd was as loud as it's been all season long. With just under two minutes left in the first half, Avery Anderson rose up and threw down a monstrous one-handed dunk, which was followed by a nice jumper AND a three-pointer by Harris to go into halftime trailing only 31-25.
Then, with just under 10 minutes left to go in the game, Likekele finally connected with Kalib Boone for an impressive two-handed slam on an ally-oop connection.
FACTOR No. 5: Offensively and Defensively, This Was a Game of Two Halves
On his radio show earlier today, Robert spoke with analyst Barry Hinson about the basketball team. Hinson was more than optimistic about the Pokes' chances against Texas.
"I know they way they've played and how we've shot the basketball, but Robert, I'm telling you our guys have practiced well. They have good attitudes and I think we are going to come out and play really well tonight."
It was a tale of two halves tonight as the Pokes were strong defensively in the first half and strong offensively in the second half. If they can just figure out a way of putting those two together, this team's going to get back to the way they were playing before Likekele missed December.
This team has a solid group of seniors that have been through the ringer during their careers. They've seen just about every bit of adversity that you can in college basketball. This team also has a solid group of freshmen that's still trying to figure it out.
If they can string together two consistent halves, and I think they're close, watch out.