'It's not easy': OSU falls to 0-7 in Big 12 with 65-50 loss to No. 3 Kansas
STILLWATER — For eight head-scratching minutes, Oklahoma State looked unstoppable.
The Cowboys had momentum. They made shots. They forced turnovers. They had tremendous energy.
They kept No. 3-ranked Kansas silent as Gallagher-Iba rocked.
But the other 32 minutes, the Cowboys looked lost. The Jayhawks flexed their muscles. This is how it goes in a slump that seemingly never ends.
OSU’s Big 12 slumber remained just that late Monday night in a 65-50 loss to Kansas.
With seven straight Big 12 losses, the Cowboys are off to their worst conference start since going 0-9 in the 1971-72 season.
“This game is a lot of things,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “One thing it isn’t is it’s not easy. But to win at the level that we play this game at, you’ve got to work really hard, you gotta believe and then you gotta have courage that when you go out there and play that you can do it.
“And we’re working really, really hard. I believe that. Not sure exactly where we are in the other two right now.”
Coming off a nonconference win at Texas A&M on Saturday, the Cowboys’ confidence appeared to be restored. The offense had steadily improved the previous five games.
But the offense appears to be a moving target.
OSU (10-10, 0-7) shot just 28.1 percent overall, a season low. For a second time this season, the Cowboys made just two 3-pointers.
“We gotta make this happen ourselves,” OSU senior Cam McGriff said. “At the end of the day, we can't we can't come out in the second half and play like the way we did. Period. There's really no way around that.”
But the Cowboys did have that 8-minute stretch to close the first half.
Kansas (17-3, 6-1) built a 24-7 lead with 7:55 remaining. The Cowboys were teetering until Lindy Waters III made a short jumper. Cam McGriff made a layup, two free throws and a 3-pointer. Star point guard Isaac Likekele bullied his way to the basket.
A 15-0 run as Kansas failed to make a field goal for 6:48. The Jayhawks were up 27-24 when they stole some momentum back to close the half as Christian Braun grabbed an offensive rebound and made a baseline jumper with 5 seconds remaining.
The Cowboys opened the second half making just 1 of 12 field goals. Kansas jumped to a 20-point advantage and led by as much as 27.
“I don’t feel like our offense is taking steps back,” Likekele said. “It’s just the fact of that we didn’t get stops. That takes a big chunk out of our offense. It's all predicated on our defense and us getting stops, and that's what dictates our offense.”
Kansas struggled shooting in the opening half, making just 34.5 percent of its shots. It responded by making 44 percent in the second half.
And Braun — who made a spot start in the absence of David McCormack due to suspension — scored 16 points behind four 3-pointers. Marcus Garrett also shined with seven points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
With stars Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike struggling, the Jayhawks found a way.
Now, the Cowboys are looking to find a way to find some hope.
“One of the things that this team has not done a great job of — and everything starts with me — we haven't handled adverse situations in game very well,” Boynton said. “A team goes on a 6-0, 8-2, 10-1 run, how do we respond to that? It’s something we gotta continue to work on and get better. We got a lot more games to play.”