Oklahoma State sinks No. 12 Texas Tech’s Big 12 title hopes

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 19 Kansas State at Oklahoma State
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STILLWATER, Okla. – Bryce Thompson made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds left and Oklahoma State beat No. 12 Texas Tech 52-51 on Saturday, eliminating the Red Raiders from the Big 12 title race.

Terrence Shannon missed a contested jumper just before the buzzer for Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State (15-15, 8-10) celebrated a win in its season finale. Oklahoma State is banned from postseason play because of NCAA rules violations, so the Cowboys can’t play in the Big 12 tournament next week.

The Red Raiders (23-8, 12-6) needed a victory and losses by Baylor and Kansas to finished tied for the Big 12 lead.

Kevin Obanor led Texas Tech with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryson Williams added 13 points before fouling out in the final minute. Williams – Tech’s leading scorer for the season – wasn’t in for the final sequence.

Rondel Walker led the Cowboys with 12 points, and Thompson had 11.

Obanor’s reverse layup with 15 seconds left before halftime put Texas Tech up 27-25. Thompson’s jumper with four seconds remaining tied it at 27. Neither team led by more than six in the first half. The game was tied six times and there were three lead changes.

A 3-pointer by Obanor put the Red Raiders up by 10 midway through the second half.

Oklahoma State roared back. A block by Moussa Cisse led to a fast-break dunk by Thompson that cut Tech’s lead to 49-46.

The Cowboys missed their next seven shots, with Tech stuck on 49 points before Walker scored and was fouled on a put-back with 51.5 seconds left. He made the free throw to tie it at 49.

Tech missed 10 straight shots before a tip-in by Davion Warren with 28.3 seconds remaining put the Red Raiders back in front, setting up the wild finish.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went unbeaten at home but struggled on the road. They went 3-6 on the road and 5-8 away from home. That’s not a good sign heading into postseason play.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys closed the season by winning four of their final seven games, despite the postseason ban.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: Big 12 tournament.

Oklahoma State: Season over.

Oklahoma State sinks No. 12 Texas Tech’s Big 12 title hopes

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
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STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State salvaged a special ending from what could have been a throwaway season.

Bryce Thompson made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds left and Oklahoma State beat No. 12 Texas Tech 52-51 on Saturday, eliminating the Red Raiders from the Big 12 title race.

Terrence Shannon missed a jumper closely contested by Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Smith just before the buzzer, and the Cowboys (15-15, 8-10) celebrated a win in their season finale. The NCAA banned Oklahoma State from postseason play because of rules violations.

“I feel like we kind of maximized what we could do,” Thompson said. “That’s a great team we just played. To go out and win in that fashion, to keep fighting and to finish it off for our seniors was big.”

The Red Raiders (23-8, 12-6) needed a victory and losses by Baylor and Kansas to finished tied for the Big 12 lead, but they shot 35.2% and went extra cold late in the game.

“We just couldn’t score,” Tech coach Mark Adams said. “I apologized to the team. I couldn’t get them in anything that seemed to work.”

Kevin Obanor led Texas Tech with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryson Williams added 13 points before fouling out in the final minute. Williams – Tech’s leading scorer for the season – wasn’t in for the final sequence.

Rondel Walker led the Cowboys with 12 points, and Thompson had 11.

Obanor’s reverse layup with 15 seconds left before halftime put Texas Tech up 27-25. Thompson’s jumper with four seconds remaning tied it at 27. Neither team led by more than six in the first half. The game was tied six times and there were three lead changes.

A 3-pointer by Obanor put the Red Raiders up by 10 midway through the second half.

Oklahoma State roared back. A block by Moussa Cisse led to a fast-break dunk by Thompson that cut Tech’s lead to 49-46.

The Cowboys missed their next seven shots, with Tech stuck on 49 points before Walker scored and was fouled on a putback with 51.5 seconds left. He made the free throw to tie it at 49.

Tech missed 10 straight shots before a tip-in by Davion Warren with 28.3 seconds remaining put the Red Raiders back in front, setting up the wild finish.

The performance left the Cowboys wondering what they might have achieved this season with a postseason bid at stake.

“Defensively, I think we are the best team in this league,” Oklahoma State guard Isaac Likekele said. “And then offensively, whenever we are focused and move into the right headspace and execute, it looks like beautiful basketball.”

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went unbeaten at home but struggled elsewhere. They went 3-6 on the road and 5-8 away from home. That’s not a good sign heading into postseason play.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys closed the season by winning four of their final seven games, despite the postseason ban. They beat the Red Raiders, despite shooting just 32.8%.

LIKEKELE’S FINALE?

Likekele has a year of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-5 guard has scored more than 1,000 points at Oklahoma State and has been a defensive anchor.

He’s not sure if he will return next year, or when he will make a decision.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “It could be two days or it could be two months. Right now I’m just trying to relax and see my family and just chill with my teammates. So I’ll deal with all that stuff when the time will come.”

CISSE’S EFFECT

Cisse – a 7-foot forward – scored four points for Oklahoma State, but he had 10 rebounds and five blocks.

He also guarded the inbound pass on the final play. His presence led to a difficult shot for Tech.

“Yeah, we were just kind of suffocating,” Thompson said. “I mean, we had put Moussa on the ball, so it was really hard for them to get it in and … Just trying try to be solid, not foul and make them take a tough shot. And luckily, we were able to make them do that.”

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: Will be the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

Oklahoma State: Season over.

Flagler scores 29, leads No. 10 Baylor past Oklahoma State

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
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STILLWATER, Okla.- Baylor coach Scott Drew got the kind of performance he expects from guards Adam Flagler and James Akinjo.

Flagler scored a career-high 29 points, and Akinjo’s pull-up jumper with 14 seconds remaining in overtime provided the winning points as No. 10 Baylor defeated Oklahoma State 66-64 on Monday night.

“James and Adam — I mean, that’s that’s as good a backcourt as anyone in the country that starts for us,” Drew said.

Flagler missed last Saturday’s game against TCU with a knee injury. He made 11 of 20 field goals and 7 of 13 3-pointers in his return.

“Our trainer was the MVP for this game because he was able to get Adam back and able to play, and obviously, he looked pretty good,” Drew said.

Flagler also drew two charges in overtime.

“Those are huge, huge plays,” Drew said. “Momentum plays. But you can’t leave doubt either. On the road, you get back-to-back calls. I mean, they’ve got to be legit. You’re there. No questions asked. And Adam put itself in that position to get those calls.”

Oklahoma State’s Isaac Likekele missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it.

Matthew Mayer added 12 points for Baylor (23-5, 11-4 Big 12).

Bryce Thompson scored 15 points and Moussa Cisse added 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Cowboys (13-14, 6-9), Oklahoma State beat Baylor 61-54 on Jan. 15 when the Bears were ranked No. 1.

Neither team scored at the start of the game until a layup by Mayer with 17:32 remaining in the first half. Oklahoma State missed its first nine shots before Likekele’s bucket got the Cowboys on the board just over five minutes into the game.

Baylor opened with a 6-0 lead and extended its advantage to 10-2 before Oklahoma State rallied. The Cowboys took their first lead, 21-20, on a pullup jumper by Thompson.

Cisse’s alley-oop dunk on an assist from Thompson with 31 seconds remaining in the first half gave Oklahoma State a 36-29 lead – a score that held until the break. Thompson had 11 points in the first half and Cisse had three dunks in the three minutes before the break. The Cowboys made 15 of their final 21 field goals in the first half.

Flagler scored 15 points for Baylor on 6-fot-7 shooting in the first half, but his teammates went 6-for-24.

Baylor’s zone defense bothered Oklahoma State early in the second half and allowed the Bears to rally. A 3-pointer by Flagler from straight away gave Baylor a 49-45 lead.

The game remained tight the rest of the way, and Oklahoma State a possession in the final minute with the score tied at 60. Likekele appeared to throw in a possible game-winning circus shot from behind the basket with less than a second remaining. The crowd erupted and the Cowboys celebrated. Upon review, it was a shot clock violation, and the game went to overtime.

Likekele never thought he got the shot off in time.

“I just grabbed the ball and I just and chucked it at the hoop,” he said. “All of a sudden, I’m looking at the clock and they counted it as good.”

Drew said it was a good officiating crew that made the right call. He didn’t think the shot would count, but he said strange things can happen.

“We’ve all been in those things where you disagree and then they say game over and everyone runs on the floor,” he said.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears couldn’t afford to lose this one, especially since they lost to the Cowboys earlier this season. This was a gritty win for Baylor, which has won two of three since losing leading rebounder Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to a season-ending knee injury.

Oklahoma State: It was Oklahoma State’s fifth overtime game this season. The Cowboys fell to 3-2 in them. They have been tough throughout the season, despite being banned from postseason play.

1,000 POINT CLUB

Likekele reached 1,000 points for his career. He is the 44th Oklahoma State player to reach that milestone. He entered the game with 988 points and finished with 12.

PRESTI’S PRESENCE

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti attended the game.

UP NEXT

Baylor: Hosts Kansas on Saturday.

Oklahoma State: Visits rival Oklahoma on Saturday.

Agbaji scores 20 and No. 6 Kansas tops Oklahoma State 76-62

Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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LAWRENCE, Kan.- Ochai Agbaji scored 20 points and No. 6 Kansas saw all five starters score in double figures in a 76-62 victory over Oklahoma State on Monday night.

Kansas, which wore throwback jerseys from the 1921-22 season, the year the Jayhawks won their first Helms Foundation national championship, pulled away late in the first half and never was threatened in the second half.

“It was nice not having to sweat,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I don’t think we played great, by any stretch, but I thought we were pretty good. We weren’t very good the first 12 minutes.”

Kansas had been struggling to put opponents away recently. With one exception, an 83-59 victory over defending champion Baylor, the Jayhawks had five single-digit wins and two losses in their last eight games.

Joining Agbaji in double figures for Kansas (21-4, 10-2 Big 12) was Christian Braun with 16 points, Dajuan Harris and David McCormack with 12 points each, and Jalen Wilson with 11. McCormack also had 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.

“I thought he was great tonight,” Self said of Agbaji. And the coach said he wasn’t alone.

“We had some individuals who played pretty well,” Self added. “The ball definitely moved well the first 10 or 12 minutes of the second half. That’s about the best we’ve looked offensively in a while.”

Avery Anderson scored 15 points and Bryce Thompson added 11 for Oklahoma State (12-13, 5-8 Big 12). Moussa Cisse pulled down 11 rebounds for the Cowboys.

Carrying a 10-point halftime lead, Kansas scored the first four points of the second half and the lead never dipped to less than double digits the rest of the game. The lead reached 20 points when Braun hit two free throws with 13:36 left in the half. By the midway point of the second half, the lead was 26.

Still, Self has something to use for motivation. The Jayhawks missed 16 of their last 17 shots.

“That wasn’t a good finish at all,” he said. “But I would have taken a 14-point win before the game all day long.”

Harris said Self wasn’t too happy with the finish.

“Coach was really mad because we didn’t close the game out really good,” he said. “We were up 25 or so. We’ve got to a better job at the end. If we do that, keep sharing the ball, playing good defense, we’ll be in good shape.”

Both teams struggled at the start and Kansas led 15-13 before hitting three straight 3s to open up a 26-19 lead. The Jayhawks led 38-28 at the half.

TAKEAWAY

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are playing out the string since they are not eligible for postseason play.

Kansas: The Jayhawks won their 10th league game for the 28th straight season, the longest active streak in the NCAA.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State: hosts Kansas State on Saturday.

Kansas: visits West Virginia on Saturday.

No. 1 Baylor loses 2nd straight home game, 61-54 to Okla St

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WACO, Texas — Bryce Thompson and Oklahoma State completed quite a journey to beat a No. 1 team on the road for the first time in school history. They also gave Baylor consecutive home losses.

Thompson scored the game’s final six points and finished with 19 as the Cowboys, in their third Big 12 road game in five days while traveling more than 3,200 miles, beat Baylor 61-54 on Saturday.

“It’s been one heck of a week in terms of what we’ve had to face competition-wise and travel-wise,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “But for those guys to show the resilience, and the determination and courage to come out and play with the amount of energy that was required … If we play with any little less energy, we lose the game.”

The Cowboys (9-7, 2-3 Big 12) began their week with a 10-point loss at West Virginia on Tuesday, then two nights later lost 78-57 at Texas Tech, after the Red Raiders had just beaten Baylor at the Ferrell Center.

“It just feels like justice. We’ve been through some stuff this week on the road for a week straight,” sophomore forward Tyreek Smith said. “It just feels good to get a win.”

Baylor (15-2, 3-2), which hadn’t lost consecutive home games since the end of the 2015-16 season, is certain to fall from the top of the AP Top 25 in the new poll Monday.

After trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Bears were within 55-54 with 1:21 left. when LJ Cryer made two free throws to cap a 14-2 run. They didn’t score again.

“They’re not very happy,” Bears senior Matthew Mayer said when asked the mood of the coaches.

“We dug ourselves in a big hole. … If the hole wasn’t that big, then we would have been able to win the game,” said Cryer, who had 18 points and didn’t sense any hangover from the loss to Tech. “I felt like that had nothing to do with this loss.”

Thompson made two free throws with 26 seconds left, then Bears guard Adam Flagler had turnovers on consecutive possessions – losing the ball out of bounds on a drive to the basket, then a bad pass. Thompson was fouled making the steal, then hit two more free throws before a game-capping breakaway dunk after Baylor missed its last shot.

Baylor had won a national-best 21 games in a row before losing Tuesday to Texas Tech. The reigning national and Big 12 champions led for only 16 seconds against Oklahoma State.

The only time the Cowboys trailed was after Kendall Brown’s basket that made it 4-3 only 2 1/2 minutes into the game. The Bears then missed 10 shots in a row over a span of more than six minutes before Cryer’s 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Oklahoma State followed with another 12-2 run and had its biggest lead at 29-11 when Isaac Likekele made a short floater off the glass. There was one possession in that stretch when Baylor didn’t even get a shot off before the 30-second shot clock expired, but there was no whistle when Rondel Walker had a steal and passed to Keylan Boone for a breakaway layup.

“Credit Oklahoma State. Again, shows how good our league is,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Baylor hadn’t had consecutive losses since the last three regular-season games of the 2018-19 season and its Big 12 tournament opener.

Mayer had season-high 16 points as the Bears shot a season-low 31% (18 of 58). Their 22 points before halftime were their fewest in a half this season, and the 57 points overall were also a season low.

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma State: Thompson was the only player in double figures for the Cowboys, but all nine players who got into the game had at least nine points, and eight of them had multiple rebounds. … Oklahoma State’s game at Texas Tech was the makeup of a Jan. 1 game postponed because of COVID-19 issues in the Cowboys program.

Baylor: Already short-handed with forward Jeremy Sochan sitting for the second game in a row after turning his left ankle last weekend, leading scorer James Akinjo didn’t play the final 9:49. Akinjo came down hard on his rear end against Texas Tech, and is still sore from that. He did play 23 minutes, making only 1 of his 8 shots.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After five consecutive weeks at No. 1, the last three unanimously, Baylor should still extend a school record with their 40th consecutive poll in the Top 10 when the new poll.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State: Hosts TCU on Wednesday.

Baylor: At West Virginia on Tuesday.

NCAA denies Oklahoma State appeal, Cowboys get postseason ban

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman
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The NCAA denied an appeal by Oklahoma State in an infractions case, meaning the Cowboys will be banned from the postseason next spring – a decision that prompted a tearful coach Mike Boynton to declare there is no point in cooperating with the the organization.

Last year, an NCAA infractions committee hit the Cowboys with a one-year postseason ban and other penalties after former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepted up to $22,000 so he could help steer athletes to certain financial advisers. Evans was arrested as part of a federal corruption investigation in 2017, and he pleaded guilty in 2019.

Oklahoma State immediately fired Evans after the arrest, and the school said it has fully cooperated with the NCAA since the beginning. The school felt the NCAA would view Evans as a rogue employee acting on his own.

That’s why Boynton said he was “appalled” by the result of Oklahoma State’s appeal.

“There’s no wonder that nobody trusts them,” an emotional Boynton said slowly at a news conference following the denial. “As they get to hide behind letters … And they don’t have to come do this – answer questions and talk to kids and talk to parents.”

Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg said the penalties don’t make sense because none of the typical issues that warrant such actions – such as lack of institutional control, participation of an ineligible athlete, academic fraud or failures in the areas of monitoring, recruiting and head coach accountability – were found.

The Cowboys were eligible for the postseason last spring while appealing, and they went 21-9 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament with eventual No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham leading the way.

Weiberg said the tournament’s success is being used against NCAA members.

“To use this flawed and inconsistent process to take away the opportunity for postseason and the NCAA Tournament from student-athletes that have nothing whatsoever to do with this case proves to me that the national office has chosen to weaponize the NCAA Tournament against the very membership that has turned that into the lifeblood of the NCAA,” he said.

In its appeal, Oklahoma State argued that the infractions panel erroneously classified Oklahoma State’s case at the same level as Evans’, stating that the coach’s personal conduct did not provide competitive advantages or benefits to the school.

The NCAA infractions panel said Wednesday it had “confirmed the level of the violation that occurred,” saying holding the school responsible at the same level as Evans was consistent with past decisions, and a member school is responsible for its staff members. Oklahoma State also will be on probation and have scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions.

The ruling came as things were improving at Oklahoma State.

After last season, Boynton received a seven-year contract extension that increased his compensation to $3 million annually. He has a 72-58 record in four years at Oklahoma State, and the program has steadily improved on his watch. Last season, the Cowboys won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2009 and ended the regular season with a final Associated Press ranking of No. 11 – the program’s best finish since 2005.

Oklahoma State had the potential to go far this season. Much of the talent that was around Cunningham is back, and the Cowboys were 31st in votes in The Associated Press preseason Top 25.

Now, Boynton has been forced to explain the ruling to players who weren’t around when the issues first came to light.

“There’s some things that this team had talked about being able to achieve that realistically aren’t possible at this point, right?” he said. “Playing in the tournament, getting further than we did last year, possibly Final Four, national champs. These guys have talked about those things. And so, kind of got to reset a little bit that thought process because there are other things that we still can accomplish.”

Pending infractions cases tied to the federal corruption investigation remain at Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina State and LSU. Those are making their way through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which was created to handle complex cases as one of the reform recommendations issued in 2018.