STILLWATER — It’s been nearly three months since the Cowboys have won consecutive games, but they have gotten back to doing the first step.
Coming off a road win against Kansas State on Tuesday, Oklahoma State hosts No. 24 Texas Tech on Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. After a six-game losing streak, the Cowboys have won three of their past five. Their win Tuesday came with a bit of a philosophy shift offensively.
OSU shot a season-low eight 3-pointers against K-State, making only two. One of those makes came from center Yor Anei on his first career 3-point attempt. Instead of the usual free-flowing 3 balls, OSU prioritized attacking the basket, and it resulted in OSU shooting 27 free throws, the third most the Pokes have this season.
“We talked about this as a staff, sometimes you can lose being stubborn,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “I was pretty convinced that we’d be a pretty good shooting team. I thought just the pieces we’ve got, guys reputation coming into the year, Lindy (Waters) and Thomas (Dziagwa) were both in the top five in 3-point shooting in the Big 12 last year. It just hasn’t manifested itself, so we’ve kinda had to try to invent different ways to have success.
“For us, this team has to go inside a little bit more, not necessarily posting up but driving and getting to the free-throw line. When we do that, which we’ve done most of the games we’ve had success, our numbers are much better offensively.”
Boynton pointed to Cameron McGriff as an example of the change. McGriff, OSU’s starting power forward, has put up 64 3-point attempts this season, but only two of those have come in the past three games. Meanwhile he has shot 19 free throws.
Further delving into OSU’s success when attacking the rim, OSU is 11-0 when center Yor Anei scores in double figures. Anei scored 15 points and had seven rebounds against Kansas State. Foul trouble has plagued much of Anei’s sophomore season, but it’s been better lately. Anei fouled out of the Baylor game Saturday, but who didn’t? But in recent games against Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State, Anei has played 25-plus minutes. He did that only once in all of January.
Graduate transfer Jonathan Laurent had a talk with Anei before the K-State game that apparently helped OSU’s big man.
“It definitely got me more focused because he made an emphasis on me to play well and emphasized that I gotta be super focused because we needed this win as a team.” Anei said. “He said it’s kinda hard for us to win when I don’t play up to my potential.”
After just a 3-3 start to Big 12 play, Tech has heated up. The Red Raiders have lost just once in their past five outings, and it was only a three-point defeat to the nation’s No. 3 team.
Tech, the defending national runner-up, blasted TCU 88-42 this week in Lubbock. In that game, five Red Raiders scored in double figures. Tech shot 60 percent from the field while holding TCU to 27 percent.
Time: Noon Saturday
Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Bill Raftery)
Oklahoma State’s Projected Lineup
Texas Tech’s Projected Lineup
Oklahoma State’s Past Five
|at Texas A&M||W||73-62|
|vs. No. 3 Kansas||L||65-50|
|at No. 1 Baylor||L||78-70|
|at Kansas State||W||64-59|
Texas Tech’s Past Five
|vs. No. 12 West Virginia||W||89-81|
|at No. 3 Kansas||L||78-75|
Big 12 Standings
|Team||Conference Record||Overall Record|
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