The Oklahoma State Cowboys captured a huge win on the road this past weekend at Kansas. On paper everything looks great. However the frequency of inconsistency for the Pokes following big wins should bring alerts to fans after this game.
On Saturday, February 3rd, the Cowboys took down Big 12 nemesis on the road to bring about one of the biggest upsets of the season. Kendall Smith was clearly the Cowboys’ key player, putting up a solid 24 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. He was also highly efficient, going 10/16 from the field.
A big win on the road at Kansas is never meant to be looked at negatively. Furthermore, it is obvious that the Pokes earned this victory, notching a double digit lead at halftime and really making the Jayhawks play from behind most of the game.
But if the Cowboys want to make the NCAA Tournament, which is, very likely, still up in the air. There will have to be improvements. And none of these really have to do with the Kansas game.
After the Pokes big court-storm worthy victory, for example, against Trae Young‘s Oklahoma, the Cowboys turned around with a road loss the following week in Lubbock. An emotional home win over rivals without a doubt bears burdens, but shouldn’t destroy focus so much to the point of losing decisively to a lesser team in the standings.
So much of the Cowboys’ success throughout this season has relied on defensive tenacity. Their basketball team is not necessarily much more than finesse to this point offensively, and it is when the coaching staff forces them to really turn up the intensity defensively where they can shut down the other teams and other individual stars of their conference.
Let us take a look again back at the Oklahoma victory. While the Pokes had huge clutch offensive plays in the second half to put them in position to win, it was the Solomon dive on the floor to grab a lose ball, the defense on Oklahoma’s Trae Young on his final shot attempt, and the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that made and will make the difference between close victories and close losses.
In conclusion, one should expect an intensified Cowboy Basketball team to show up in GIA on Tuesday night, but the extent to which this will happen is yet to be seen.
Right now would be the perfect time for Oklahoma State to learn from the little aspects of the season, after the victory at KU. Coming up after the Tuesday Baylor game is nothing easy, with matchups against West Virginia, Kansas St., TCU, and Texas Tech following that.
It is time for this Cowboy Basketball team to make an end of season stand. Go Pokes!