Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 60-51 Loss to Wichita State

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STILLWATER — It was an ugly night of basketball for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State fell to Wichita State 60-51 on Wednesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena in a game in which the Cowboys had 21 turnovers and 10 missed free throws.

OSU held a 48-45 lead with 6:15 to play, but the Pokes would miss 11 of their final 12 shots, something that is hard to win with.

Whoever coined basketball a game of runs wasn’t lying. The Cowboys started on a 10-0 run before a Wichita State zone muffled OSU’s offense. With the Pokes leading 14-5, the Shockers went on a 12-0 run to take a 17-14 lead. Later in the half, the Pokes had a 9-0 run just for Wichita State to answer with an 8-0 run.

The back and forth half ended with the Shockers leading 31-29 at the break. Then the Pokes opened the second half on another 10-0 run, but that was their last major run of the game.

Here are five thoughts on the game that was.

1. Game-Deciding Stats Not in Cowboys’ Favor

Turnovers, free throws and rebounds will often tell you who the winner of a given basketball was — those stats weren’t pretty for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys turned the ball over 21 times Wednesday night, leading to 21 Shocker points.

OSU shot 47% from the free-throw line, going 9-for-19 from the stripe.

The Pokes did finish with more rebounds than Wichita State, 37-33, but every time the ball went up it was a battle.

It’s not a winning recipe. No matter the athletes or the star ratings, there aren’t a lot of times OSU will shoot 47% from the stripe and turn the ball over 21 times and win. It’s honestly amazing the game was as close as it was.

2. Zoned to Death

Without going back and watching, I’d say that most of OSU’s runs came with Wichita State playing man-to-man defense. Then the Shockers would flip to a zone and the Cowboys would run into a brick wall.

After the Shockers’ initial switch from man to zone, it seemed like coaching malpractice that they went back to playing man to start the second half, but down the stretch, WSU coach Isaac Brown went back to the suffocating zone. Wichita State finished the game on a 15-3 run.

This isn’t the best 3-point shooting team, which is one way to bust a zone, so the Pokes are going to have to figure something out or teams that don’t even play zones are going to crack it out against them.

3. Ice Takes Away Shockers’ Biggest Threat

Coming into Wednesday night, Tyson Etienne was averaging 18.6 points a game for the Shockers, but with Isaac Likekele face-guarding him much of the game, Etienne finished with just five points on 2-for-7 shooting to go with four turnovers.

That was good, but the tradeoff was that Ricky Council got going for Wichita State. He scored 17 points on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting.

4. Bad Bench Night

OSU’s bench has won the Cowboys a few games this year, but Wednesday just wasn’t the bench’s night.

That strangeness was magnified because it wasn’t just one or two reserve players struggling, the whole bench was. Look no further than the plus/minus stat:

Rondel Walker, -20
Bryce Williams, -18
Tyreek Smith, -23
Keylan Boone, -6

The only bench player positive in plus/minus was Kalib Boone at +4, but he played just 10 minutes.

It seems a far cry from when OSU’s bench 56 points against NC State.

“It’s been the opposite,” Boynton said. “It’s been the starters haven’t been starting great and then we’ve subbed and we’ve made or ground or taken a lead or whatever it is. Tonight it was the opposite.”

5. Keylan Boone’s Efficiency

A Keylan Boone 3-pointer might be this basketball team’s most efficient play seven games into the year, which is not what I expected.

KenPom has a stat called offensive rating (ORtg), which is a complicated formula that measures personal offensive efficiency. Entering Wednesday night, Keylan Boone’s ORtg was 133.2, which was second on the team to Tyreek Smith. But, entering Wednesday Smith had played only 61 minutes to Boone’s 111.

Boone’s ORtg would’ve ranked third in the Big 12 among players used in at least 20% of possessions, but he’d only been used in 18.3% of possessions entering the night.

Those are just data points to show how good Boone has been, and he had another offensive spurt Wednesday, hitting a pair of first-half 3-pointers. In total, he played 13 minutes and finished with six points and five rebounds.

“He’s a good player,” Boynton said. “I’m not surprised that he’s playing well. He’s been in our system three years. This is his third year with us now. I think he’s settled into understanding what we expect of him. He works hard, and when he’s out there, we believe that he can be a shot-maker for us.

“He’s probably a guy we need to try to get more shots for, to be honest, especially from 3. He’s the only one really hitting them with any level of consistency. That’s something we’ll definitely look at moving forward.”

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