STILLWATER – TCU’s late run was inevitable.
It was something the Oklahoma State basketball team had grown accustomed to seeing. It would garner an advantage in the first half, and as the game wore on, the lead would deteriorate until the Cowboys were staring at the scoreboard at the end of the game, facing yet another loss.
A nearly seven-minute scoring drought in the second half wasn’t enough to derail OSU in its 68-61 win against the Horned Frogs. The win helped the Cowboys snap an eight-game conference losing streak. Thomas Dziagwa scored 23 points for the second time in three days.
“My teammates set great screens and they throw me the ball when I’m open, and coach calls great plays for me,” Dziagwa said. “I wouldn’t trade these guys for anybody. It looks like I’m making the shots, but they’re the guys getting me open, so credit to them.”
The Cowboys (10-16 overall, 3-10 Big 12) held a 11-point advantage before they went cold. TCU, which came into the game with eight available scholarship players to OSU’s seven, slowly chiseled the lead down to two points. The Horned Frogs switched to a zone defense, swamping any decent looks the Cowboys tried to generate offensively.
Freshman guard Isaac Likekele made two free throws to give OSU a four-point cushion before Anei made a layup to put OSU up five with 3:58 to play. TCU’s Desmond Bane, who scored 17 points in the second half, then hit a 3 to pull TCU within two.
Then Lindy Waters hit a fadeaway jumper, which became the game-winning basket. But Cameron McGriff’s hustle set up the play.
When his 3-pointer from the left corner nearly missed everything, McGriff crashed inside to grab the rebound. He was off balance, but as he fell out of bounds, he found the nearest purple jersey and slammed the ball off of them, keeping the possession with OSU.
With two seconds on the shot clock, Waters hit his fadeaway to cap a 14-point outing.
“(McGriff’s play) was huge,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “Cam did not have his best game. He’s not 100 percent. He won’t say it, he won’t even tell me, but I know him. I’ve been around him long enough. He’s out there giving us everything he has because he cares.”
McGriff played only 31:24, and he didn’t hit a shot, though he made all four of his free throws and was a team-best +11.
Waters said of his fadeaway: “I hit that on Thomas all the time.”
Although freshman Duncan Demuth played only 10 minutes, he had one of his better performances as of late. He was dominant on the offensive glass, grabbing two on that end while drawing fouls a couple times because of his tenacious effort. Boynton said he and Demuth talked within the past couple days, saying he needed to play with toughness and execution.
Yor Anei tallied five blocks, and Dziagwa said he often comes to the defense of many defensive breakdowns.
The Cowboys finally found footing, garnering some momentum before a four-day hiatus. After nearly beating TCU in Fort Worth not two weeks ago, Waters said he’s glad to finally notch a win.
“After going on a dry spell for a while, knowing that we should have beat them at their place, it just shows that we have the tools to come out any night and just get the job done,” Waters said. “But there’s a lot more confidence now. Coach Mike has really been encouraging. He knows the spot we’re in, but at the same time he knows we have to get better and he’s going to push us.”