Big 12 Basketball

Top Five Takeaways From Saturday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

Syndication: The Ames Tribune

Here are five takeaways from Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball on Saturday, as nearly the entire conference was in action.

So what happened? We’re going to get our ‘Big’ Big Monday matchup, TCU wins on a buzzer-beater, someone’s losing streak stopped and Oklahoma State finally has its day.  

 

Here are five thoughts on the day.

Let’s Do It Big on Monday

Houston and Iowa State took care of business on Saturday. So let’s get ready for Big Monday.

Yep, ESPN did the smart thing and moved Monday’s game between the Cyclones and the Cougars to the 8 p.m. slot on their Big Monday doubleheader. It was a 6 p.m. game on ESPNU.

Thankfully, the two teams did their part to make sure that Monday’s game will be a battle for first place in the Big 12.

Both were at home on Saturday, where each is undefeated.

Houston blasted Texas, 82-61. Houston’s Jamal Shead had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He even had six assists. But L.J. Cryer put on a show, as he scored 26 points and made six 3-pointers.

Iowa State hosted Texas Tech and won, 82-74. Keshon Gilbert scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds, one of five Cyclones in double figures.

The last time the Cyclones and Cougars met was on Jan. 9 in Ames, Iowa, as Iowa State prevailed, 57-53. As noted, both teams are undefeated at home.

Monday should be a great game and will give the winner the front-runner status for the No. 1 seed at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.

 

OU’s Streak Stopped

The Oklahoma women’s roll stopped on Saturday, as West Virginia ended the Sooners’ nine-game winning streak, 70-66, in Morgantown, WV.

The Sooners don’t lose their lead in the Big 12 standings, though. They remain a game ahead of the field. But now things are much tighter, with Texas, WVU and Kansas State all a game back. Texas gets another shot at OU soon, too.

Texas took care of Iowa State while Kansas State outlasted UCF without Ayoka Lee, who sat out with an ankle injury.

WVU did it their way, forcing Oklahoma into 25 turnovers. That fueled JJ Quinerly’s 18 points, one of four Mountaineers in double figures.

Payton Verhulst continued her exceptional play of late for OU with 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Skylar Vann had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

This is why the turnovers were so key in this contest. In a four-point game, 25 turnovers can be a killer, especially when the opponent — in this case WVU — only turns it over 14 times.

With four games remaining, the top four seeds for Kansas City, and the double-byes that come with them, are all but decided. Iowa State, Kansas and Baylor are three losses back of the No. 4 seed. Should OU, Texas, WVU and Kansas State all win during their mid-week games, the double byes will be set.

 

TCU’s Important Win

TCU claimed a 75-72 win over Kansas State on Saturday, with his last-second shot from Jameer Nelson Jr. giving the Horned Frogs the win.

Entering this game TCU was one of the few men’s teams with a winning record on the road in the Big 12. For some reason, the Horned Frogs know how to tough it out. While Nelson had the game-winner, Micah Peavy had a career-high 26 points for TCU.

The win was important for TCU as they’re on that ‘Last Four Byes’ list in ESPN Bracketology. A win like this probably takes them off that list for now.

Kansas State is trying to play their way into the field and losses like this don’t help. Tylor Perry scored 24 points. The Wildcats shot less than 10 percent from the 3-point line. It’s looking more and more like the NIT will be their best shot at the postseason.

Horned Frog Women Get Healthier

TCU beat Cincinnati on the road, 79-72, and got a welcome face back in guard Madison Conner, who has been out since mid-January and was one of the many injured when the Horned Frogs had to forfeit two games due to a lack of players.

Conner played like she hadn’t missed a game, dropping in 31 points in 30 minutes. She poured in seven 3-pointers. Sydney Harris scored 27 and made six 3-pointers.

I think TCU’s hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth are probably out the door. But with Conner back, the Horned Frogs can at least make things interesting down the stretch. TCU’s last four games are at BYU, at home against Houston and Texas Tech, followed by a road finale at West Virginia.

 

Where Has THIS Oklahoma State Been?

The Oklahoma State Cowboys beat BYU, 93-83, on Saturday. Again, that was 93-83. Where did that come from?

Oklahoma State has scored 90 or more points in two games this season — against New Orleans and Houston Christian. No offense to the Privateers and the Huskies, but that’s really not impressive.

This was impressive. OSU shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and one player — Jamyron Keller — was perfect from the floor (8-for-8) with 22 points. All five OSU starters were in double figures.

The Cowboys needed this win. Coach Mike Boynton Jr. needed this win. They need more like them down the stretch to build toward next year and, perhaps, save Boynton’s job. This finally shows the talent I thought I saw from this team earlier this season.

As for BYU, well, the Cougars shot 22.9 percent from the 3-point line. That’s where they live and die, and when they shoot like that, well, you get the point.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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