Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 70-60 Loss to West Virginia

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The Cowboys have made a bit of a habit winning in Morgantown in recent seasons, but things weren’t pretty for the Pokes on Tuesday night.

Oklahoma State fell 70-60 to West Virginia in a game the Cowboys struggled offensively in. Here are five thoughts from the contest.

1. Still Lacking Offensive Identity

The Cowboys are 14 games into the year and still don’t have an identity on offense.

It’s almost as if there are too many potential options, and OSU trying to somehow mesh all of them just isn’t working.

Most games it seems as if the idea is some combination of Avery Anderson and Bryce Williams running off ball screens. It works occasionally, but it has been inconsistent. Then there have been those when Isaac Likekele runs the show. That’s seemed to work more consistently, but there aren’t as many data points to back it up. Then there is the Keylan Boone bomb squad, which OSU needs because he has been the Pokes’ only consistent 3-point threat for any sustained stretch.

It might just be time to jump to something and commit to it. I personally think Likekele running the show should be what the Cowboys are moving forward. That seems the most recreateable on a night-to-night basis. He has proven he is going to make the right decision more often than not with his 52 assists to 26 turnovers. Williams and Anderson have combined for 63 assists and 74 turnovers.

Kyle Cox hit me with a good stat to back up the lack of identity: OSU has had seven players lead the team in scoring this season. That’d be a great thing if the Pokes were 12-2, but they’re 8-6.

2. Keylan Boone

Keylan Boone played 17 minutes Tuesday night, the sixth most of any Cowboy.

He was 2-for-5 from 3-point range while the rest of OSU finished 3-for-14 (Williams was 2-for-7). Boone doesn’t provide the same things the likes of Anderson, Williams or Likekele provide defensively (he was a team-worst -17 in plus/minus), but defense hasn’t been a major issue for the Pokes this season — it’s been offense.

There is a world where he might ought to shoot eight or nine 3s a night. He hasn’t shot more than seven in a game this season.

3. Turnover Struggles Return

The Pokes had turnover issues throughout the nonconference, but starting Big 12 play, OSU gave the ball away only 11 times against Kansas and nine times against Texas. The Cowboys had 17 turnovers Tuesday night.

A lot of that can be contributed to the always tough defense of West Virginia. Bob Huggins has been tearing apart offenses for decades.

The Cowboys are now 4-5 in games they have at least 15 turnovers in. The wins aren’t the most impressive, coming against Prairie View A&M, UMass Lowell, Charleston and Cleveland State (in OT).

4. West Virginia All of the Sudden Is Nails from the Line

Entering Tuesday night, West Virginia was the worst-shooting team in the Big 12 from the foul line.

The Mountaineers entered the game making 64% of its foul shots. So, naturally, they went 21-for-22 (96%) against the Cowboys. Had the Mountaineers made shot their percentage coming in, they would’ve been about 13-for-22. That eight-point difference would’ve made the game a heck of a lot more interesting.

The Cowboys didn’t do themselves any favors, shooting below their season percentage at 9-for-15 (60%).

5. The Big 12 Is Even More Deadly

Not even two full weeks into conference play and the Big 12 is already in full chaos.

Texas Tech, a team that lost its head coach to a team in the conference this offseason, handed No. 1 Baylor its first loss of the year. And that game was in Waco.

Texas fell to OSU this past weekend, but the Longhorns bested a 12-3 (now 12-4) Oklahoma team 66-52 on Tuesday night

Iowa State went 12-0 in its nonconference schedule and has started Big 12 play 1-3. And the Cyclones’ one win came against the Texas Tech team that just knocked off Baylor.

This league ought to continue its madness for the rest of the season, which makes it difficult to put too much stock into one particular game, even if that one game can mean big things at the end of the year.

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