Big 12 Basketball

Top Three Takeaways From Wednesday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

Here are three takeaways from Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball on Wednesday, as there was one men’s game and six women’s games on the schedule.

So what happened? Oklahoma State is learning that all you need is love (I’ll explain), the Kansas State women played another instant classic and a breakdown of the women’s race in the conference.

Here are three thoughts on the day.


All For Love?

So here’s one of those weird statistics that only sports information directors keep up with. Going into Tuesday’s game with Cincinnati the Oklahoma State Cowboys were 21-14 after Valentine’s Day under coach Mike Boytnon Jr.

Is that the answer? All OSU needs is love?

The Cowboys won, 82-78. They won their first Big 12 road game and the Cowboys are now — guess what — 2-0 since Valentine’s Day.

For the second straight game the Cowboys shot better than 50%, this time firing 56%. The Cowboys were also 13-for-14 at the free-throw line, and those were key down the stretch as the Cowboys worked to protect their lead.

OSU’s young players are starting to round into form. Javon Small had 19 points. Jamyron Keller had 15 points and made the two free throws that iced the game. Brandon Garrison had 14 points, Quion Williams with 12 points and veteran Jon-Michael Wright with 11 points.

Oh, and Boynton fouled up three late — and it worked out for him.

This was not a good loss for Cincinnati. This was a Quad 3 loss for the Bearcats, as OSU had a NCAA Net ranking of No. 123 entering the game. That will be Cincinnati’s second Quad 3 loss, and for a team squarely on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament, that’s not a loss one can afford.

Cincinnati shot 50%, but the Bearcats were tepid from the 3-point line (5-of-17), and that may have been the determining factor in this game. Simas Lukosius led the Bearcats with 17 points. Day Day Thomas, Jizzle James and Jamille Reynolds had 10 points each. Dan Skillings Jr. dropped in nine points but also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Bearcats are running out of time to make their NCAA case. Winning on Tuesday wouldn’t have necessarily booster their case. But losing definitely hurt them.


Drama in Manhattan

For the third straight game the Kansas State Wildcats played another instant classic in Big 12 women’s action, this time against West Virginia.

This one went to overtime. But this time the Wildcats — unlike their double overtime game with Iowa State a week ago — claimed the win, 73-64.

A lot happened. West Virginia’s JJ Quinerly hit an absurd bank-shot 3-pointer in the final seconds to cut the K-State lead to one. After Kansas State’s Eliza Maupin made one free throw to put Kansas State up two, WVU’s Jordan Harrison drove the length of the floor for a buzzer beating lay-up to send the game to overtime.

From there, Ayoka Lee took over. The All-America center scored 10 of her 34 points in overtime as he was coming off missing a game with a minor ankle injury. She was supposed to be limited. She was not. She also had 12 rebounds. WVU had no answer for her down the stretch.

Quinerly had 23 points and fouled out late. WVU brought its usual stifling defense and forced 23 turnovers. But the Mountaineers committed 18 of their own.

Serena Sundell and Brylee Glenn each had 11 points. Sundell’s health is worth watching. She turned her ankle landing on Quinerly’s foot while making a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and needed help off the floor. Because it’s Sundell, she returned later in the fourth quarter and overtime. Glenn had a double-double with 10 rebounds.

Kansas State remained in second place in the Big 12 with the win. Just as importantly, the Wildcats have clinched a tie for one of the four double byes in the Big 12 Tournament.


Women’s Race Rolls On

Oklahoma remained in first place in the Big 12, with a one-game lead on Kansas State and Texas. KSU and OU split, while OU and Texas have to play each other again. Texas remained in a second-place tie with K-State after beating Texas Tech, 77-72.

West Virginia dropped into fourth place with its loss to Kansas State. With three games left the Mountaineers have a two-game lead over Iowa State, which beat Houston, 76-64, and Baylor, which beat Kansas, 69-61.

Fourth place is key for the Mountaineers because it would lead to a double-bye in the Big 12 Tournament. WVU needs a couple of more wins to hang on to it.

There is plenty left to be decided.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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