Saturday in Lubbock, the Oklahoma State Cowboys took down the Texas Tech basketball team 82-72 in overtime.
Twice on Saturday, Kyler Edwards played a huge role in the closing seconds and each time, the breaks went against him in an 82-77 OT loss to Oklahoma State in Lubbock. With his team down 80-77 and possessing the ball with 11 seconds to play, Edwards was flustered by an Oklahoma State double-team and threw the ball away leading to a Cowboy run-out dunk to put an exclamation point on the upset loss.
But there was a chance for this team to avoid OT altogether. However, another play went against Edwards when he was called for the rare moving screen in the final ten seconds of regulation. That controversial call prevented the Red Raiders from getting off a potential game-winning shot while the frustration from that whistle seemed to linger in the minds of the Red Raiders at the start of the OT period as Tech allowed OSU to race out to a six-point lead and then salt away the game.
Still, this game shouldn’t be placed at the feet of Kyler Edwards. In fact, it was his best game of the year. Scoring 18 points off the bench thanks in large part to 4-9 shooting from 3-point range, the junior was his team’s best player for most of the afternoon.
Mac McClung led Tech with 21 points but fouled out with two minutes to play leaving the Tech offense rather punchless down the stretch as Chris Beard’s team tried to mount a desperate comeback.
But when the Red Raiders face the mirror after this game, they will have to face the reality that their critical mistakes allowed OSU to steal this game right out from under them.
For instance, the Red Raiders gave up 12 offensive rebounds. That included three on one possession late in OT when the Cowboys crashed the boards and ultimately took a 76-72 lead.
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Then there were the home team’s failings at the free-throw line. Tech missed 10 free throws including four in the OT period.
But hitting key free throws was not a problem for the Cowboys. Trailing by three in the final minute, true freshman Cade Cunningham toed the line and calmly sank three free throws to tie the game and ultimately send it to OT. Of course, Tech fans were not happy with that call either as on the play, Cunningham was the player who initiated the contact with the defender (Kevin McCullar Jr.) when he executed a pump fake from beyond the 3-point line and then leaned in to draw the slightest of bumps.
It was a pedestrian day for the Big 12’s leading scorer who came into the game averaging over 19 points per game. Shooting just 3-12 from the field before fouling out in OT, the nation’s no. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2020 had just 13 points.
Yet, his teammates picked up the slack. Point guard Isaac Likekele finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals while Bryce Williams had 15 points in his first start of the year.
It was Williams, in fact, who got OSU off to a strong start and put Tech in a hole that it would take them most of regulation to climb out of. Hitting three early shots from beyond the arc, he would help OK State jump out to a 22-10 lead in the first half.
That was when Texas Tech basketball fans knew that this game was going to be another grind and that the Cowboys had no intention of bowing down to the No. 13 team in the nation. What’s more, it was the unranked Pokes who seemed to be the more aggressive, composed, and intelligent team down the stretch and into OT as they handed the Red Raiders a loss that could have long-lasting implications on Tech’s Big 12 season.