Kalib Boone the Grinder of the Day but Texas Gets Back on Track 56-46
STILLWATER – A throwback Saturday inside Gallagher-Iba Arena saw one of the biggest crowds in recent memory inside the building and a style of play that old Pokes masters Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton would be proud of as the theme was defense. Oklahoma State had to battle No. 6-Texas saw Moussa Cisse seven-one. Cisse, who injured his ankle in the first half of Tuesday’s win over West Virginia, suited up but did not warm up or play in the contest.
The orange-clad fan was back, the Orange Power guy was in the house, as were the graduates, cheerleaders, and graduation band. There were mullets, real and wigs. There were bare breasts painted orange, even some bellies painted orange. The crowd was an impressive 7,300. They saw a competitive game.
This was a mill that needed a hero, but it was a slow development. For Oklahoma State it would be Kalib Boone. He was the best cowboy grinder of them all. Texas escaped with a 56-46 victory that was closer than the final score. Boone had 16 points and hit all four free throws and was 6-of-9 from the floor. He had 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Boone did it on both ends, as with Cisse out he had six of the Cowboys’ 12 blocked shots.
“He had the engine going and it seemed like there was a lot more going on today because the big man (Cisse) wasn’t there,” John-Michael Wright said of Boone. “He knew he had to take it and we tried to take it with him.”
Boone scored on a layup with 13:52 left in the second half to keep the Cowboys close at 35-31. Then again, Boone slam dunked off a feed assisted by freshman Quion Williams to make it 37-33. With 11:24 left Boone forced his body through Texas defenders to the basket to make it 40-38 as close as it had been since the contest began.
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Big finish by Boone to make it 43-41.
Boone got back into the game and this time more spectacularly as Chris Harris fed him at the rim and Boone made him dunk in the oop lane after OSU was back within two at 43-41. Then, two possessions later with the defense still on top, Caleb Asberry drilled a 3-pointer from the wing and Oklahoma State took a 44-43 lead for their first lead since 2:38 into the game when they took a 3-2 lead.
“It wasn’t just late. That was pretty much the majority of the night,” Cowboys coach Mike Boynton said of the offense that didn’t get going late and pushed. “It was our defense just holding the line and our transition defense didn’t hold up. It was a critical time. in the game and after a three, which I think was our last basket of the game and we get it right back in transition after a foul and it stops your momentum. We’ve got to be better in those situations.”
Woody Newton had extended playing time on what he was seeing, and the 6-9 guard hit a free throw for a one-point Cowboys lead. Then, after Timmy Allen scored on a layup and Marcus Carr hit a layup for Texas, Newton missed the front end of a one-and-one. The match was so close that the missed opportunities were magnified. Oklahoma State was 12 of 21 from the free throw line for 57 percent and had no defender standing in the way there.
“We’re a better free throw shooting team than we’ve shown,” Boynton said. “I’m confident my boys can make it the next time they go back there. I believe free throw shooting is about toughness.”
I believe he means mental toughness.
Oklahoma State missed a few more free throws and struggled to score in the final five minutes. Texans Brock Cunningham had nailed several key baskets including an early 3-pointer, but his three from the top of the key with 1:58 left gave the Longhorns a 53-46 lead that, if not for foul play, might have gone into overtime. left over. Cunningham had eight points and Texas was led by Carr’s 12 points.
The game opened with an almost immediate certainty that it would be a grind and that defense would rule the day. Oklahoma State came in with one of the best defensive teams in the country and the best in the Big 12. Texas after a home loss in their new Moody Arena where Kansas State set a Big 12 and school record by winning 116 -103, so you knew the Longhorns had drilled the D.
“I give a lot of credit to my boys. This game was won Thursday in Austin, not Saturday in Stillwater,” Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said. “We lost our identity (against Kansas State) giving up 116 points and I was proud of the way they came back knowing how hard it is to win games here against coach Mike’s teams.”
They smothered Oklahoma State on its first possession, saving up for a turnover as the shot clock buzzer went off. Oklahoma State essentially did the same to Texas, and the game’s first points didn’t come until a few minutes after a foul by Anderson sent Tyrese Hunter to the line to sink a pair of free throws.
“Any time you give up a lot of points, coach is going to make sure your guard comes out ready to play and that’s what they did,” Wright said of Texas’ defensive efforts in the comeback loss to K-State and the record . offensive output the Cats had against Texas.
Neither team was able to separate early as the defensive theme continued with Texas shooting 36 percent from the field and the Cowboys 44 percent, but only because they struggled to shoot. The first good lead in the six game game came when Sir’Jabari Rice ran down the baseline unattended and put the ball in for a 13-7 lead at the 12:31 mark and immediately Cowboys coach Mike Boynton called time out. The margins were tighter this Saturday.
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Somehow it was big for Texas.
One of the more interesting exchanges came when Texas’ Dylan Disu, who moments earlier had hit a corner three to give Texas an 18-12 lead, took the pass inside and made a full drive behind the basket and scored for the team’s biggest lead at the time. for horns 22-14. The Pokes scoring attempt was knocked down and cornerback John-Michael Wright scored his first points of the game on a corner kick and Disu did the Cowboys a huge favor by fouling on the made three. The four-point play pushed the Pokes to within 22-18.
Texas chipped away at a couple of eight-point leads only to have the Cowboys continue to stay in touch, several times with the help of free throws. The first half ended with Texas up 32-24 and the scoring drought for both teams lasted until the final 3:05 of the first 20 minutes. Back actually with Texas shooting 32 percent and the Cowboys 33 percent with 11 turnovers in the first half.
The second half started right away with Texas grabbing its first double-digit lead of the afternoon with Timmy Allen hitting a jumper in the paint for a 34-34 lead with just 20 seconds left. The game remained at the intermission with Texas’ lead ranging from eight to four points.
Highlights for the Cowboys included John-Michael Wright hitting a 3-pointer off a great cross pass from Avery Anderson to make it 34-29 Texas. It was then that Boone tried and came close to getting the Oklahoma State win, but couldn’t do it with the help he got and didn’t get.
Boone was not one of two Oklahoma State players brought in to speak to the media afterward, and Boynton’s response to Boone’s play was interesting to say the least.
“I have to be careful because I don’t want this to be critical. I’m never a critical person with kids, but this was his 102nd game and we have to expect that from him at this point,” Boynton said of Boone. “We have to be surprised when he doesn’t play well as opposed to other side. It’s time he started doing it every day.”
Oklahoma State falls to 9-6 and 1-2 in Big 12. Texas is now 13-2 and 2-1 in Big 12 play. The Cowboys will play at Kansas State on Jan. 10 and then head to Waco to play Baylor on Jan. 14 before hosting Oklahoma for Bedlam on Jan. 18.