Man, that just wasn’t the team that showed up in Lawrence on Saturday. They did precisely what they couldn’t afford to do, dropping a must-win home game against Baylor, 67-56.
Baylor just simply outplayed Oklahoma State in virtually every stat on the box score. In the first half, Baylor shot 63 percent to Oklahoma State’s 44.8 percent. The Bears also shot 62.5 percent from the 3-point line where to Pokes were just 2-6 for 33.3 percent.
There was a bright side to this half, though:
Cam Mcgriff, still a monster.
In the second half, it was more of the same. The Cowboys could never get any closer to the Bears than six points. The Cowboy shot an even worse 20 percent from the 3-point line in the second half. Their shooting from the paint didn’t get any better after halftime either. They were 9-of-30 from the paint.
Only two of the Cowboys, Kendall Smith and Mitchell Solomon, reached double digits in the points column, with 15 and 13, respectively. Meanwhile the Bears had three - Manu Lecomte (18), Tristan Clark (10) and Nuni Omot (14).
They just looked like they were out of gas. Something wasn’t clicking. Things as simple as a shots from the charity stripe weren’t going the Cowboys way. Tonight, the Cowboys, who are a 76.5 percent team from the line on the year - were 7-of-15.
Alright, children, now gather ‘round.
Back in the beginning of the season, I wrote a piece about how important attendance would be. Tonight’s attendance was less than ideal, and the guys noticed.
Mitchell Solomon: "Everyone plays better when there's a more exciting atmosphere." #okstate— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) February 7, 2018
Gallagher-Iba Arena holds 13,611 people when it is at capacity. Tonight, it played host to 6,017 (a generous approximation) - or 44.2 percent of its capacity.
Tonight was not the Pokes’ night, in what was a loss that likely destroyed their hopes of an NCAA tournament appearance. If they want an invite to The Big Dance, they are going to have to be flawless in the last seven games and likely make a run in the Big 12 tournament.
Next up, the Cowboys go for round two with West Virginia on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Morgantown. This team has shown it can win in hostile environments, but it’s hard not to be disappointed by the outcome in tonight’s game.