KU Too Much as Pokes Fall 83-58
Oklahoma State played a solid first half, but the Jayhawks were just too much in the second half as they ran away with a (SCORE) win. The second half included a (20-2) KU run, two three-plus minute (3:04) OSU field goal droughts and a 34-point deficit.
The Cowboys did, however, finish the game on an 11-0 run, but it came in the final three and a half minutes during mop-up duty.
With the loss, the Cowboys move to 14-14 on the season and 4-11 in conference play.
"[KU's] a really good team," head coach Mike Boynton said on the Cowboy Radio Network. "We didn't have enough fire power to overcome what they do well. They continue to be able to establish their inside presence. They didn't shoot as many threes, buy they made them when they did take them. Credit to those guys for stepping up and shooting the ball with confidence. We've got to get back and get better. They're a really good team, a team that has the potential to make a run for it all."
It was a solid first half of action for the Pokes as they kept pace with the Jayhawks for most of the first half. They went into halftime trailing the No. 1 team by 10 points, 35-25. Despite the 10-point deficit, the first half was much closer at times. The defense was also pretty decent on both ends. Going into the half, the Cowboys were holding KU to 34% shooting from the field, and just 27% from the 3-point line. However, on the other end, KU held the Pokes to just 32% from the field, and 22% from 3-point range.
It was seniors Lindy Waters and Cameron McGriff that led the way for the Pokes with seven and six points respectively. KU’s Adoka Azubuike put up eight first half points, but the Jayhawks spread the points around as they had nearly four players close to first half double-digits points.
By the end of the game, Azubuike would finish with a game-high 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, 7-of-8 from the free throw line and hauled in 16 rebounds.
"No, and we certainly don't have one in practice," coach Boynton said of the talent and physicality level of Azubuike. "His improvement's pretty remarkable. He's not just a big plodder, he can move his feet, he's actually gotten better defensive and any near the rim, he catches and finishes. Now, against Oklahoma State at least, he makes his free throws."
The Cowboys started the second half well as they scored three quick points, but things got pretty stagnant for the Pokes. They’d score just four points in the next six minutes. That would also include five turnovers and a technical foul on Cameron McGriff. By the time OSU scored their seventh point of the half, KU had taken a 19-point.
Senior Cameron McGriff had a solid first half, but struggled to get going in the second half as he picked up four quick fouls in the first eight minutes. McGriff would finish the game with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, 3-of-4 from the free throw line and five rebounds. It also marked McGriff’s ninth-straight double-digit game.
Isaac Likekele and Lindy Waters would also score double-digit points, each with 11.
Despite the score discrepancy, the Cowboys shot nearly 40% from the field and were only six rebounds behind KU, 38-32. The Pokes also recorded nine total team blocks, with Anei recorded four.
"I've been around these kids long enough to know that we're going to continue to give great effort," coach Boynton said on the Cowboy Radio Network. "They're going to continue to be coachable and play the game the right way and listen to what we're trying to do to execute. Again, night's like this you hate to accept, but it's a part of the process of growing and getting better. We're going to continue to mine the fields of talent and maybe we can level the playing field in terms of that eventually. But between now and then, we've just got to keep encouraging these young men to get better and represent our program the right way like they have this whole season."
The Cowboys are back in action this coming Saturday at 3 p.m. as they’ll host a struggling Iowa State. The game is being televised on ESPNU.