Kelly Olynyk knows a thing or two about dominating second halves.
The redshirt junior scored all 21 of his points in the second half and got some help when, after fouling Marcus Smart with nine seconds left in the game and Gonzaga up two, Smart missed both free throws in a 69-68 win over Oklahoma State in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Smart drove right, hesitated and went up and Olynyk got him with the body, fouling him out. The freshman, however, missed both shots trailing 67-65 and Kevin Pangos made two free throws to seal it. Phil Forte’s three made it a one-point decision. Pangos finished with a team-high 23 points.
Olynyk was a totally different player in the second half after foul trouble forced him to the bench early in the first. He finished 7-for-12 from the field and pulled in nine rebounds, seven offensive.
This was a huge win for Gonzaga, who needed this after the home loss to Illinois on Dec. 8. Now, the Bulldogs have wins over Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State, so it’s fair to say they love playing the Big 12.
Despite the late missed free throws, Smart was steady for Oklahoma State with a team-high 23 points.
This was the best game of the day for me. It had a dominant performance, late-game heroics and faltering, and overall consistently good play from two quality teams.
Meanwhile, Kelly Olynyk might be one of the best players in the nation in the past for games, averaging 18.5 points 5.5 rebounds. Looks like that redshirt year has helped him develop.
David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.