STILLWATER – Curtis Jones sized up his defender, dribbled on the perimeter and made his move.
He drove inside as the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd counted down the shot clock. As the numbers continued getting lower, Jones continued dribbling. As the shot clock nearly expired, Jones stepped back and caught air on a jumper from the right wing. Iowa State’s bench erupted, as it forced another turnover after stifling the Cowboys’ half-court offense.
The Cyclones defeated OSU, 69-63, in the Big 12 opener for each team Wednesday night. It was the third straight conference-opening loss for OSU (6-7 overall, 0-1 Big 12). Junior guard Lindy Waters said the Cowboys need to get into their offense faster.
“Whenever we call a play, we don’t get into it quick enough, and whenever we do, we’ll have four guys on the same page and one not on the same page,” Waters said.
The half-court sets were ineffective for much of the game. OSU corralled 11 offensive rebounds but tallied only 13 second-chance points. OSU garnered just four points off Cyclone turnovers, as it shot 8-of-24 of layups.
OSU shot 38 percent from the field while ISU made 36 percent of its attempts, yet it added 19 points at the free-throw line. OSU was 11-of-14 from the stripe, but it couldn’t convert opportunities on close looks.
“Just another night in the Big 12,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said.
Anei strong in first Big 12 game
On a team full of newcomers, Yor Anei stood out in the Big 12 opener.
The 6-foot-10 freshman center’s stat line wasn’t too impressive, but his frame was all over Eddie Sutton Court. He scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in 26 minutes, and he was effective in keeping the Cyclones (11-2, 1-0) out of the paint.
His lone blemish was he fouled out with 15 seconds left in the second half. His length will be an asset to the team as Big 12 play moves on. As he continues to find confidence on the offensive end, it will help OSU in all facets.
“I saw a lot of good things,” junior captain Cameron McGriff said. “He protects the paint well. That’s what he does best for us. That’s something that we really hang our hat on for him, and it’s something we expect him to do every game.”
Strong close to first half a positive
ISU’s Lindell Wigginton sunk a free throw to give ISU a 35-27 advantage with 2:36 remaining until halftime.
Gallagher-Iba Arena was quiet, the Cowboys were looking for a spark. At halftime, they owned a one-point advantage.
It started with a Jones’ 3-pointer. McGriff hit one after that. Then with 35 seconds left in the half, Thomas Dziagwa nailed a bucket from deep.
The quick 9-0 run was a lone bright spot for the otherwise struggling OSU offense. Waters said the run was a positive that helped give the Cowboys confidence heading to the locker room.
“Whenever we were able to push it, we got open shots,” Waters said. “It was really encouraging, especially for the young guys in their first conference game. That’s what we’re here for, to compete.”