Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Cowboys make a late push and fall just short after an abysmal free throw performance that left six points on the table.
The game opened at a painfully slow pace with the Cowboys not scoring a single point until almost four minutes in and Tulsa one-upping them by going seven minutes and forty-three seconds without points after an early 2 just after the tip. The Cowboys were only able to take advantage of that drought to the tune of a 9-2 lead, and Tulsa would eventually tie it up at 11 after the Cowboys had some stagnation of their own.
The rest of the half would be a tight back-and-forth affair with Tulsa eventually taking a 29-30 lead to half after a put-back by Duncan Demuth was waived off.
In what has become a theme in the last few losses, the Cowboys got off to another slow start in the second half to fall to as much as a twelve-point deficit. The Cowboys would cut the lead to seven a few times and Tulsa continued to answer until a late run from the Cowboys brought them to within four with around four minutes to play. A few missed opportunities, including at the free-throw line, made it that much harder to mount the final comeback. Conversely, Tulsa made their last eight free throws to keep the game at arms length. In the end they got it as close as within one, and had a chance to tie after two free throw makes by Martins Igbanu made it a three point game. Alas, Lindy Waters falling-away three point attempt fell short and the score was final, 71-74.
This game saw another limited performance from Cam McGriff, as foul trouble only allowed him five minutes in the first half. His first points didn’t come until the second, where he put up 9 including a clutch three to bring the game within a point. He would also tie for a team high 6 rebounds with Likekele (who also had his first blank in the points column). Mike Cunningham carried the Cowboys offensively for stretches of the game and logged 14 points. Waters and Dziagwa both added 12 while Weathers and Anei added 9 and 8, respectively.
The Cowboys had 39 total rebounds to Tulsa’s 32, but turned the ball over far too often at 17 times to Tulsa’s 11. The Cowboys shot a decent 37.9% from three to 27.3% for the Golden Hurricane, but Tulsa also made 18 out of 21 from the free throw line.
All in all, it will go down as another tough lesson on the road for the young Cowboys squad. The bright side is this team continues to fight and has given themselves chances to win all but one of their games. The negative though is that they find themselves back at .500 overall after not finding a way to win those tough ones.
This team has shown flashes, but will need to be much more consistent to contend in the Big 12. Free throws, ball security, foul trouble, and sometimes rebounding are all areas that need attention. It doesn’t get any easier this Saturday, as an even better AAC foe in Houston comes to Gallagher-Iba. Let’s hope The Rowdy helps get the Cowboys on track again with what would be another very good (and much needed) win.