Oklahoma State basketball: 3 takeaways from Cowboys' 75-70 upset of No. 6 Kansas
STILLWATER — Call Oklahoma State the Cardiac Cowboys.
The young Cowboys built another big lead, let it get away but this time sealed the deal with a wild 75-70 upset of No. 6-ranked Kansas on Tuesday.
“These last few games, we gave the game up,” OSU transfer Bryce Williams said. “Today, we were just tired of it.”
OSU is now 9-3 and 3-3 in Big 12 play.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
OSU has been in this position twice this season.
A big lead in the second half, only to fall apart down the stretch. But this time, it was different.
OSU had a 16-point lead in the first half. Kansas battled back to take the lead with 3:13 remaining.
The Cowboys this time showed their growth.
Isaac Likekele tied the game with a corner 3 with 59.3 seconds remaining. Then Cade Cunningham and Williams made the play of the game.
Cunningham blocked a layup by Marcus Garrett, saved the ball from going out of bounds with a baseball pass to Williams, who immediately fired a pass to Rondel Walker behind two Kansas defenders.
“It was great anticipation by all of us,” Williams said. “Cade really could have let the ball go out of bounds. We could have been playing another play. He knew where we were before he even got it out of his hands. Just a hustle play all around.”
Cunningham gave credit to Avery Anderson III, who kept Garrett in front of him on the drive, allowing Cunningham to come in for the block from behind.
When Cunningham went to save the ball, he had enough time to find Williams. Williams somehow saw Walker down the court for the big pass.
“I think everybody was just looking for each other,” Cunningham said.
Walker made the layup and was fouled. He then made the free shot with 38.3 seconds left.
The Cowboys defense held, with Williams sealing the game on a steal and dunk at the buzzer, setting off a huge celebration in the arena.
“I don’t know if I can qualify his value to the team,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said about Williams, who finished with 17 points and three steals.
Cade puts on a show
You knew it would be a big night when Cunningham broke out a pair of Kobe Bryant Bruce Lee shoes.
And it was a big stage, even if the game was on ESPN+.
Cunningham scored 14 of his 18 points in the opening half, fighting through the most grueling defense he’s faced in his young career.
The Jayhawks doubled him on ball screens. They got physical.
He still hit three 3-pointers in the half and dished out three assists, making his teammates better as Kansas focused their attention his way.
“I thought he was terrific,” Boynton said. “The thing about him that makes him special is he believes in his teammates. He’s going to give them confidence.”
Cunningham continues to show why he’s so valuable, and it’s not just scoring. He took three shots at Kansas State on Saturday, instead leading the Cowboys in other valuable ways.
This time, he dealt with NBA-level defense from Garrett and Co.
It just doesn’t get any more impressive than how Cunningham handled himself.
“Scoring is not his only suit,” Williams said. “He’s going to make the play to help us.”
Need for speed
The Cowboys like playing fast and throughout most of the game, the Jayhawks had no way to slow them down.
OSU scored 24 fast-break points in the opening half, building the 16-point lead.
Cunningham was pushing the tempo. Avery Anderson III was, too. That led to big things.
Ultimately, OSU finished with 37 fast-break points.
The game only slowed down in the second half when Kansas adjusted, going primarily to a triangle-and-two zone defense. It forced the Cowboys to be patient.
It also led to poor 3-point shooting. OSU shot 7 of 12 from deep in the opening half, but only 2 of 9 in the second half.