Five Thoughts On Oklahoma State’s 61-57 Loss to Baylor

[USATSI]

The Cowboys dropped another road game on Saturday night. It wasn’t exactly a surprising outcome but reinforces the fact that the Cowboys have a ways to go to contend in the Big 12. Here’s our instant recap as well as a notebook. On to the five thoughts.

1.Baylor has never held a No. 1 ranking

That’s enough to keep the No. 2 — and hottest team in the nation — engaged for a home game against an 0-2 Oklahoma State team. Especially since No. 1 Villanova lost earlier this week.

Baylor knew what was on the line, but so did the Cowboys. After a messy start early and Evans being sent to the bench with foul trouble, the Cowboys were active defensively and on the boards and seemed in control for good stretches of the game, even taking a five-point lead into halftime and for most of the second half. Unfortunately it was not enough to hold off the undefeated Bears at home.

2. The Cowboys were outmatched in the front line

Lucas N’Guessan may be the best option Brad Underwood has to start at center but that is less of a compliment for N’Guessan than it is an indictment on the Cowboys’ front-court depth. Mitchell Solomon was Underwood’s man most of the way, mostly due to his size but fouled out for the sixth time this season.

N’Guessan registered a blank stat line in six minutes aside from his two fouls and one turnover. These nights are going to happen with a true freshman but that comes as little consolation to Oklahoma State this night. Solomon scored three points on 1 of 2 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 20 minutes.

That’s obviously not great against the trees Baylor has on scholarship.

3. Oklahoma State was forced to play Baylor’s style of ball

The Cowboys struggled with the Baylor zone. If you are the type of team, playing the style OSU does, you can’t score 22 points in a half (the second one) and expect to win. You also can’t expect to lose the turnover battle and have a chance, either.

Jawun Evans needs to stay out of early foul trouble. This is not the first time that Evans has picked up two (very) early fouls. He got called for his second one with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Evans finished with eight points on 2 of 12 shooting. He dished out five assists but had three turnovers and never really seemed to get it going other than a play here and there. These are the types of games he needs to take over.

The Cowboys, who came into Saturday ranking fourth nationally averaging over 90 points per game, were held to 57, and it’s kind of hard to see how they eclipsed 50 after watching the second half.

It would have been really ugly had it not been for Thought No. 4.

4. Phil Forte had his best game this year

We’ve seen glimpses of a possible shooting streak awakening this year. Hopefully this is a sign of what’s to come. Forte looked for his shot from deep — way deep. That’s about the only way he’s going to get off a 3-pointer apparently. The Cowboys need more of that.

As Kyle Porter pointed out in our slack conversation, this is a different team when Forte is on. Unfortunately, Jawun Evans was not.

5. There are no moral victories

The Cowboys actually did play Baylor’s style of ball and had a chance to win very late — against the No. 2 team in the nation, on the road. Despite the front-court mismatch, the Cowboys won the offensive rebound battle 19-7 (35-30 on total rebounds).

But … Oklahoma State is now 0-3 in Big 12 play. Not the way we all probably saw this starting out but maybe we should have. This is an incredibly young team with a couple of deficiencies — especially along the front line. The Cowboys just do not have anyone on the roster than can go toe-to-toe with some of the front courts they are going to see.

Conclusion

The Cowboys continue their tough stretch welcoming Iowa State to Gallagher-Iba on Wednesday night and then head to Lawrence to take on Kansas on Saturday. Is Brad Underwood going to start off 0-5 in Big 12 play? It’s very possible.


  • David Einstein

    You guys need to decide if you’re going to hammer Underwood or hammer the talent level. It can’t be both with a first year coach. I mean, I don’t disagree with these five thoughts but there is an inconsistent narrative from the blog.

    I think we are in good shape this year and going into the future.

    • Pokelahoma

      Different people have different….thoughts? I agree with you Im pumped about the future though.

    • Doc Holliday

      I agree they’re so hard on Underwood and it’s his first year. Meanwhile this blog will stick up for Yurcich no matter what😂😂

  • Hackleman poke

    I haven’t been able to find anything and I didn’t get to watch the game but at one point late in the second half the radio guys were commenting that Evans was stretching out his left arm. I’m wondering if there is more to his injury than being reported. He just hasn’t looked the same except for Wichita St.

    • David Einstein

      Evans for sure still has an injury. It was really evident at the WVU game.

  • looking up

    I really thought we got hosed by the Ref’s in the last few minutes. Mitchell Solomon’s last foul was questionable and then there was the late foul where Forte was pushed and it was called on him. Not to mention a no-call or two where we should have been shooting some free throws.

    All in all, I am thoroughly pleased with Underwood and I expect to see us improve as the year goes on. Next year, our current group will be in there second year of Underwood and hopefully be executing his system with excellence, add to that a good big man and a great freshman class and I think we’ll be in the running to win the Big 12!

  • willham

    The five thoughts all describe how Baylor is better than us and how far we have to go to compete against talent like theirs. This completely ignores the fact that away from the foul line, we outscored Baylor by SEVEN points. If we shoot the same percentage from the free throw line as Baylor instead of our embarrassing 55%, it’s a tie game. On their court. With them playing to be the number ONE ranked team. Losses suck, and this one sucks, but the team and their fans have a right to be proud about the progress made between the game at Austin and this game in Waco. Better things to come.

    A losing mentality isn’t just a risk for a team, it seems it’s a risk for people who blog about the team.

  • Pokes

    Don’t forget now that we are playing with FIVE freshmen in the rotation. Two of which had zero offers other than okstate. I think we all know we have a winner in Underwood. This team is working hard, let’s do our job and support them.

    Go pokes!

    • Saucy Takes

      This is so accurate.. I have some buddies that are still upset about the hire instead of Doug… Obviously criticism is deserved but so is praise. I dont think this team is nearly as good with Doug as it is with Underwood.

  • T-Bone

    We live and die with Hammonds. He sucked. We lost.