STILLWATER — It’s March, and the Cowboys have some work to do to book a ticket to the Big Dance.
Oklahoma State travels to Lubbock this weekend for a game against Texas Tech that tips at 5 p.m. Saturday. OSU coach Mike Boynton met with reporters after his team’s Thursday practice. Here are three things that stood out.
Already without star guard Avery Anderson, a couple of Cowboy bigs took some knocks in the their loss to Baylor on Monday.
Tyreek Smith left the game with an ankle sprain after playing 16 minutes where he had four points, six rebounds and a block. He was +3 in plus/minus, meaning the Cowboys were three points better than the Bears when Smith was on the court. That performance was just part of a string of games where Smith has acted as a buff energizer bunny for the Pokes, and it looks like he’ll get the chance to continue that spree, as Boynton said Smith was a full participant in practice Thursday.
Moussa Cisse has already missed time with a sprained ankle this season, and when he went down with a lower body injury late against Baylor after taking a charge, there was a “not again” energy flowing through Gallagher-Iba Arena. But this is different. Boynton said it was a matter of someone landing on his leg, resulting in a bruise. Boynton said Cisse practiced “about 50%” on Thursday.
When the Cowboys went on their spree of winning seven games in a four-week period, it was hard to find a more confident basketball team in the country. Now having lost five straight, confidence is a question.
Whether it’s the fact that OSU has shot just 22% from 3 across the past three games or that they went 14-for-26 on layups against Baylor, it can take a toll psychologically. The Cowboys brought down 22 offensive rebounds against Baylor but had just 10 second-chance points to show for it, thanks in part to the missed layups. So how do the Pokes rebuild that confidence?
“You bring a pad out there and you whack them over the head while they shoot layups for the next three days,” Boynton said. “You try to tell them they gotta make 10 in a row or five in a row. As a coach, you try everything. We usually take one day off a week. [Wednesday] was basically a second day off. I think there’s a psychological component to guys feeling fresh, rested. Having a Monday game just gives you an opportunity to stay in your two-day prep by doing that.”
The OSU Vision Plan
As part of the Vision Plan that Oklahoma State unveiled this week, there is proposed new basketball practice facility.
It’s an area OSU is lacking in. The current practice gym is essentially a room that is just big enough to hold a basketball court. When something is going on in Gallagher-Iba Arena, the men’s and women’s teams have to be extra careful in coordinating on-court times.
Look no further than OSU’s next opponent as someone who has done a practice gym right. The Dustin R. Womble Basketball Center cost $32.2 million and opened in 2021. It’s ridiculous.
“It’s an area that, quite frankly, we’re behind in,” Boynton said. “I don’t know when our practice gym here was built, but it’s obviously limited in what it’s available to do for us. Sharing a space with the women, it’s fine if you’ve got more space. Then obviously with wrestling using GIA a lot, it sometimes makes it complicated. At the minimum, whenever it happens, it’ll give us an opportunity to catch up in that area. You never want to get too far behind your competition. We’re always cognizant of that and how it affects recruiting and player development and guys wanting to come back here and work out and all those things.”