Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 64-55 Win over Oklahoma

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

The Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 64-55, in a Big 12 men’s basketball game at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Oklahoma State (11-11, 4-6 in Big 12), but it also extended Oklahoma State’s winning streak over Oklahoma (13-10, 3-7) to four games. The Cowboys, who are not eligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions, handed the Sooners their seventh loss in their last eight games, something that the Sooners may start feeling in the various Bracketology fields starting next week.

Oklahoma State shot 48 percent from the floor and was led by Moussa Cisse and Kalib Boone, who each had 12 points. Keylan Boone added 10 points. Isaac Likekele didn’t score, but he had seven rebounds and six assists. Rondel Walker added 11 points off the bench.

 

Oklahoma’s Tanner Groves led the Sooners with 23 points, while Elijah Harkless added 15 points. The Sooners shot 38 percent for the game, had 17 turnovers and saw eight of their shots blocked by the Cowboys.

The two teams will meet again on Feb. 26 in Norman.

Here are our three thoughts from the game.

The Boone Brothers

Keylan and Kalib Boone were unintentionally working in tandem for the Cowboys on Saturday. Keylan was the man in the first half, while Kalib was the man in the second half.

Keylan Boone scored eight of his 10 points in the first half, which included a pair of 3-pointers. He did that in just 10 minutes on the floor and played a big hand in making sure the Cowboys were ahead by one point at the break.

Kalib Boone didn’t score a point in the first half, as Moussa Cisse was the more dominant force inside for the Cowboys. But, in the second half, Kalib showed up. At one point he scored nine points in a row for the Cowboys. He went 4-for-5 at the free throw line and added five rebounds and a blocked shot. He was Oklahoma State’s most impactful player of the second half.

Keylan and Kalib are one of 16 sets of brothers playing for the same team in college basketball (Oklahoma has another set in Tanner and Jacob Groves). This tandem helped the Cowboys win the day in Bedlam.

 

The Groves-Harkless Equation

That was the offensive equation for the Sooners on Saturday. Tanner Groves and Elijah Harkless had 24 of the Sooners’ 28 points in the first half. By the end of the game, the pair had combined for 38 points, and the Sooners finished with 55 points.

In the first half of a low-scoring game, the Sooners made that work. After 20 minutes, Groves had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including two 3-pointers. Harkless had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, with three of those being 3-pointers.

But, in the second half, that really hurt the Sooners. Harkless had a couple of baskets early in the half, but then he was done, scoring-wise. Groves went more than eight minutes without points before heating up in the late stages of the game. But, by then, the Cowboys had control.

What happened? No one else for Oklahoma stepped up. Some of that was OSU’s defense. But, some of it was the fact that the remaining Sooners made just seven shots in 40 minutes.

That’s an outlier for the Sooners. Players like Jordan Goldwire and Umoja Gibson usually play better. But, this was a bad time to have an outlier.

 

Bryce and Bryce

Oklahoma State has a pair of Bryces, which isn’t confusing at all — unless one of them has been hurt, as senior Bryce Williams has been the past four games. Right now, he is arguably the more important Bryce. Entering the game, the Sooners were 1-5 when Bryce Williams didn’t play.

Bryce Williams played on Saturday, but he didn’t have much of an impact. He scored two points in 23 minutes, and he scored those points with under five minutes left in the game. During the broadcast, ESPN’s commentators noted how much treatment Bryce Williams had undergone this week just to get ready for the game. So it was too much to ask to get him to his season average of 10 points. He did have three assists.

Williams is a super-senior and playing on his COVID year. Bryce Thompson, the former high school All-American, is a sophomore and in many ways he’s the future of the Cowboys’ backcourt. But he struggled on Saturday, scoring six points and playing 17 minutes as he was in foul trouble most of the contest.

When two of your leading scorers combine for eight points, there’s a good chance you lose. But, thanks to the Boone brothers and Moussa Cisse, the Cowboys were able to prevail. Even better news is that the Cowboys get a couple of days off get Williams some rest before the TCU game on Tuesday.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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