The Cowboys are hitting their stride at a crucial point in the season, and they’ll have a chance at another top-10 victory when they host No. 6 Baylor Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m. CT.
Not only is it another chance at an NCAA Tournament-resume-building win, but it’s also another shot at revenge. Oklahoma State played the Bears - then ranked No. 2 in the country - to a close 61-57 margin on January 7th. The Cowboys led 30-25 at half before surrendering the lead for good with 6:29 left in the game.
Jawun Evans played just 24 minutes due to foul trouble and shot 2-for-12 from the floor that night. As a team, the Pokes had their worst night from the free-throw stripe going 11-for-20, more than 20 percent below their season average. The Bears got a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double from Johnathan Motley and 17 points from point guard Manu Lecomte. With the victory, Baylor reached No. 1 in the polls for the first time in program history.
The Bears enter Wednesday’s contest on their first losing streak of the season, having lost at Kansas last Wednesday and then at home against Kansas State on Saturday.
Conversely, the Cowboys are fresh off the biggest win of the Underwood era after holding off No. 7 West Virginia 82-75 on the road. It was their fifth-straight win overall and the third-straight road win.
Behind reliable scoring from Jawun Evans (18.3 ppg), Jeffrey Carroll (17.3 ppg) and Phil Forte (13.9 ppg), the Cowboys average 87.2 points per game, leading the Big 12 and behind only UCLA (92.9), Kentucky (90.2) and North Carolina (87.8) among Power Five teams.
But the win streak isn’t even inspired by offensive firepower. Underwood’s defensive adjustments have propelled the Cowboys to the middle of the Big 12 pack. OSU is giving up 70.4 points to opponents over the last five games compared to 78.0 allowed for the season.
The emergence of sophomore Davon Dillard, perhaps one of the most versatile defenders on the roster, has softened the blow of losing Tavarius Shine. He didn’t get on the court in the first matchup with Baylor but played a season-high 25 minutes against the Mountaineers on Saturday.
Dillard could be the key to another important win for the Cowboys.