When Mike Boynton and his Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-13, 8-10) needed it the most, they accomplished exactly what they needed to do: win.
The Cowboys were in a desperate need of a victory, and physically dominated Oklahoma (18-13, 8-10) from the tip to help them to a 71-60 win over their in-state rival. This is a win that will not only extend their stay in Kansas City, but enhances their chances of playing in the Big Dance.
Mike Boynton and co. earned a 53-27 rebounding edge down low. They had 19 second chance points, and eventually ended the Sooners’ trip to Kansas City in just one day.
“We tried to make a conscious effort to be the hardest playing team for forty minutes today, and I feel like we accomplished that.” Boynton said in his opening statement following his team’s win. “I think it shows up most notably on the stat sheet on the rebounding. Proud of these guys. They fought a lot of noise all season and for us to be playing as well as we are this time of year shows their character and not just good kids, we got a good team.”
The Cameron McGriff show took place of the Trae Young show inside the Sprint Center for a certain point in time. The sophomore hit three 3s and had an emphatic dunk in four of five possessions early in the second half, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. From someone who tends to just do the little things, it was his big performance that helped Oklahoma State get one step closer to playing in the NCAA Tournament.
“Cam played great today. He is always a “little thing” guy kind of like me,” senior Mitchell Solomon said. “He prides himself on playing hard and getting the loose balls, getting rebounds when we need him. He was definitely a spark and important to our team’s success today.”
McGriff was a menace that Oklahoma could not hold off, but the Sooners could not hold anyone off from getting rebounds against Oklahoma State.
“They were just bodying us on the boards,” Oklahoma’s Kristin Doolittle said. “We were switching forward so they would have Cameron McGriff who is a big guy crashing the boards hard and being able to outjump some of us and the lack of boxing out was the main key. But we’ve got to move forward.”
The Sooners are going to be in the NCAA Tournament by the skin of their teeth. From No. 4 in the country to one of the worst teams in the Big 12, it has been their fight and will that was missing on a night their opponent was ready for a war.
“For sure. We’ve got to improve,” Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger said about their fight. “Clearly rebounding is about competing and fighting, and yeah, we’re not pleased with the job there at all.”
Oklahoma State’s Jeffery Carroll had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds in the Cowboys’ win.
Trae Young had 22 points on 7-of-21 shooting, including a 5-of-13 mark from behind the 3-point line.
Oklahoma will now be at home watching the rest of the Big 12 finish their conference tournament, and Oklahoma State will take on Kansas tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.