For the second time in the past three days, the Cowboys were destroyed on the road.
Oklahoma State lost to West Virginia 85-67 on Monday in Morgantown. From start to finish, it wasn’t pretty for the Pokes, who fall to 16-12 on the season and 7-8 in Big 12 play.
1. Another Team Scorches OSU’s Defense
In the past three games, teams have averaged 90.7 points a game against OSU while shooting 55% from the field and 43% from 3.
The Cowboys’ once vaunted defense has vanished.
Some of it has to do with OSU’s offense. The Cowboys turned the ball over 18 more times Monday, resulting in 28 Mountaineer points (OSU had only four points off WVU’s nine turnovers). The Cowboys also didn’t rebound well. The always-physical Mountaineers bullied their way to 17 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second-chance points.
A team with two of the best rim protectors in the league (Moussa Cisse and Kalib Boone) giving up those types of numbers was something I didn’t see coming.
2. Unholy 3-Point Shooting
The Cowboys have had their struggles from 3 earlier this season, but they had worked their way up to making 33% of their 3s. That was far, far, far from the case Monday.
OSU went 2-for-19 from deep. That’s 10.5%. The Cowboys went on a streak of 15 straight misses. Disgusting.
It’s the second-lowest percentage OSU has shot this season, trailing only the 10% of 3s the Pokes made against UCF on Nov. 18 in The Bahamas.
3. What’s Going on with Kalib Boone?
Teams no doubt have Kalib Boone at the top of their scouting reports, and the past two games have not gone well for OSU’s main man.
In the past two games, Boone has played 15 minutes, recording seven points, no rebounds, five turnovers and eight fouls.
The whistles haven’t been favorable to him. He hasn’t had any time to find a rhythm at the beginning of these past two games.
Within the first three minutes of Monday’s game, Boone had two turnovers and two fouls. He went to the bench with 17:58 to play in the first half. With the foul trouble he played only four first-half minutes.
To start the second half, he scored his first two field-goal attempts, picking up a third foul between the baskets. As he went to the bench with 18 minutes to play, OSU coach Mike Boynton appeared to be giving Boone an earful.
Frustrations appeared to boil over not long after Boone came back in with 12:18 to play. Boone and West Virginia’s Tre Mitchell went to the floor after a loose ball and a scrum ensued. The two hugged it out after the exchange, but the damage was already done. Boone got a foul for diving on the pile and a technical foul for his participation in the scrum. The two fouls at the same time fouled Boone out.
From Jan. 1 to Valentine’s Day, Boone gave OSU 16 points a game. In the past two games, OSU has gotten seven total points out of him. It’s as head-scratching as whatever happened to OSU’s defense.
4. Losing the Bubble Battle
The Mountaineers are now 5-10 in Big 12 play, but they might have just moved ahead of OSU in NCAA Tournament projections.
Entering the game, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had OSU in his “Last Four Byes” category, while WVU was just behind in the “Last Four In.” It seems a little crazy that the pair of teams could split a season series and the one with a worse conference record would be in better position, but it comes down to West Virginia having more Quad 1 wins than OSU and the Cowboys having a Quad 3 loss (Southern Illinois).
OSU did all that hard work getting back into Tournament contention, but man, these past three games are pushing the Pokes back into a fight to hear their name on Selection Sunday.
The Cowboys still have three more Quad 1 games on their regular season schedule, so it’s possible to overcome this. But the road sure looks treacherous with how poorly the Pokes are playing.
5. What’s Next?
A home loss to Kansas and road losses to TCU and West Virginia are forgivable and understandable, but the way those losses have come — a combined 272-218 — is what has warning lights flashing.
The Kansas game last week was competitive. The Cowboys had good moments and just lost to a better team. These last two losses have been uncompetitive, which is made all the more wild by the fact that OSU had won seven of eight games going into that game against the Jayhawks.
Mercifully, the Cowboys return home for their next two matchups (against Kansas on Saturday and Baylor next Monday). Then OSU heads to Lubbock for their regular season finale against a surging Texas Tech squad.
The Wildcats look to be in a somewhat vulnerable position. They beat Iowa State on Saturday and play Baylor on Tuesday. That Iowa State win ended a streak that saw K-State lose five of six conference games.
Before losing to Kansas on Saturday, Baylor had won nine of 10 in the conference.
The Red Raiders play OU on Tuesday. Tech went from 0-8 in the conference to winning four of their past six.
With how OSU is playing, winning one of those would be nice. Winning two and you feel as if you’re making out like a bandit.