Oklahoma State began Big 12 play with a record of 0-6. Heads were held low around Stillwater and the immediate future of the program.
The Cowboys did all they could to silence their critics on Saturday, reeling off a 19-point conference road win over Texas Tech. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But when you look at the fact that Tech has home wins over West Virginia and Kansas State, there is plenty of reason to admire what the Cowboys were able to do in Lubbock on Saturday.
Brad Underwood grabbed his 100th career win with the victory over the Red Raiders.
Congratulations to Coach Underwood on his 100th win! #okstate pic.twitter.com/k03tfManhS— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) January 21, 2017
Jeffrey Carroll showed us once again why he is the most improved player in the Big 12, ripping off an impressive stat line: 25 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal. He had help today, though, as senior guard Phil Forte piled on for 21 points and 6 rebounds. It’s a good thing they had the afternoon that they did, as Jawun Evans once again found himself on the bench for 23 minutes in foul trouble.
For the Cowboys, though, it’s a huge win. Road wins in conference play are not to be taken for granted, regardless of the opponent. But when you look at how the Pokes started conference play, there is reason to believe this win could propel the team on a successful path. They follow up the victory today by hosting TCU on Monday and Arkansas on Saturday. Both of those are must-wins, but are also games that OSU will likely be favored in.
Underwood admitted last week that he felt his team was just “one win away.” OSU had lost their last seven games by less than eight points in each. They had been competitive, but stumbled down the stretch in close games. Today, they bowed up in crunch time with their star player on the bench.
The reality is that while OSU is 1-6 in conference and tied for last place, they have a chance to turn this season around rather quickly, and they appear poised to do so.
First step: protect home court and get two wins against opponents you should beat.
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Next up: TCU, Monday, Jan. 23; Gallagher-Iba Arena