The Oklahoma State basketball team is coming off back to back painful losses, putting a serious damper on any remaining NCAA Tournament hopes. After road wins at Kansas and West Virginia, Oklahoma State is back at square one, and probably needs a miraculous run to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Cowboys will welcome the sixth-ranked team in the land to Gallagher-Iba Arena tonight, as they face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. A win on Wednesday night against Texas Tech would pump some much-needed life into the players and fans.
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Time: 6 p.m.
Line: OKST -1
This is certainly a winnable game for Oklahoma State (15-12, 5-9 Big 12). The Cowboys led Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4 Big 12) by 12 points at halftime back on Jan. 23 in Lubbock, but Keenan Evans scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Red Raiders to a 75-70 victory. The Cowboys led by as many as 15 in the game, and it became one of the many games the Cowboys will look back on at the end of the season and wonder, “what if?”
Texas Tech is currently half a game out of first place in the Big 12 and can move back into a first-place tie with Kansas with a win against the Pokes. This is a huge game for the Red Raiders, who host Kansas on Saturday, and then are at West Virginia the following Monday to close out the Big 12 schedule. The Red Raiders are fighting for a Big 12 title (that was really weird to type), and will likely not be caught off guard by upset-minded Oklahoma State.
The Pokes will need to contain Evans for more than just one half of basketball to pull off the win. Evans is second in the conference averaging 18.2 points per game, while Jarrett Culver lit the Cowboys up for 25 points in the last meeting. The Lubbock native is averaging 10.8 points per game in his freshman season, which is tied for second on the team with fellow freshman guard Zhaire Smith. The Red Raiders are also the best defensive team in the conference, allowing only 62.5 points per game and an opposing field goal percentage of .391.
With a win, Oklahoma State will move into a tie with Oklahoma in the standings. With a loss and an Iowa State win over TCU, the Cowboys will be sharing the Big 12 basement with the Cyclones.