By Chad Waters
With its best player on the bench, Oklahoma State (7-2, 1-2) went back-and-forth with No. 13 Texas Tech (8-3, 1-2) in Lubbock on Saturday. The Cowboys survived in overtime, 82-77, defeating the Red Raiders with freshman star Cade Cunningham missing most of the overtime period. After fouling out with 2:43 left in overtime, Cunningham finished with 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. However, the Big 12’s leading scorer (19.1) proved he can affect the game in other ways besides putting the ball in the basket, as Cunningham added seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
The Cowboys got a much-needed first Big 12 win after losing its first two conference games by a combined four points. On top of the huge victory, coach Mike Boynton might have found his best starting lineup in the process, as Boynton elected to start senior Bryce Williams. Williams replaced grad transfer Ferron Flavors Jr., who didn’t play a single minute against the Red Raiders. Williams scored 15 points in his first start for Oklahoma State, adding two steals in overtime, with the first leading to a breakaway dunk and the second one sealing the game for the Cowboys. Williams helped the Cowboys jump out to its largest lead, 22-10, with Williams making three-straight 3-pointers during that stretch.
Junior Issac Likekele and sophomore Avery Anderson III both had 17 points for the Cowboys. As a guard, Likekele is third in the Big 12 in rebounding (8.3), hauling in seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals against the Red Raiders. In his second start of the season, Anderson shot 6-of-7 from the field, and recorded six rebounds, and two steals.
Before transferring to Texas Tech this season, junior Mac McClung handed the Cowboys their first loss of the season in 2019, scoring 33 points in Gallagher-Iba Arena while playing at Georgetown. This time, McClung led Texas Tech with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting. McClung hit a 3-pointer to start the overtime period, however those would be his last points before fouling out with 1:06 left.
What stuck out for the Cowboys was its role players making game-winning plays on both sides of the ball in Cunningham’s absence. The Cowboys also shot a season-high 42.1 percent from 3-point range (8-of-19), marking the second time the Cowboys have surpassed 40 percent and only the third time they’ve shot over 30 percent this season. It’s been a struggle shooting beyond the three-point arch for the Cowboys, who are averaging 31 percent on the season. However, if OSU continues to improve from 3-point range, it shouldn’t be the last time the Cowboys upset a ranked opponent on the road this season.
After sitting out nearly two weeks before its game in Lubbock, the Cowboys are back on schedule with a quick turnaround against West Virginia (8-3, 1-2) on Monday. This will be the third-consecutive Top 25 team the Cowboys will face, this time at home against the No. 9 Mountaineers, who are coming off a 75-71 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners (6-2, 2-1).