Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton has a lot of freshmen and newcomers trying to figure out their way in the Big 12.
These young Cowboys got a pretty big win on the road, against a team that played in the last NCAA national championship game.
Bryce Williams scored 15 points in the senior transfer’s first start, including a steal and breakaway dunk in overtime as Oklahoma State beat No. 13 Texas Tech 82-77 on Saturday.
Issac Likeleke, their third-year junior guard, and Avery Anderson III both had 17 points for the Cowboys (7-2, 1-2), who needed overtime after blowing an 11-point lead in the second half. They lost their first two conference games by a combined four points.
“I’m really proud of our kids for showing the fight and resiliency that it took to come in here and win,” Boynton said. “Because certainly not everything went our way. We dealt with some adversity during the game and our kids showed some fight.”
Mac McClung had 21 points to lead Texas Tech (8-3, 1-2), the 2019 NCAA runner-up before there was no NCAA Tournament last season. He hit a 3-pointer to start the overtime period, but didn’t score again before fouling out with 1:06 left.
Oklahoma State lost Big 12 leading scorer Cade Cunningham when the freshman guard fouled out in overtime and was up only a point after Tech made a free throw. Cunningham, who was averaging 19.1 points a game, finished with 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
But the Cowboys responded, stretching the stretch when Keylan Boone had a second-effort putback basket and added a free throw after being fouled. Williams, the senior who transferred from Ole Miss, followed with his breakaway after picking off a pass by McClung.
“We really tried to come here and play tough, which I believe we did,” Likekele said.
“I have a lot of respect for Texas Tech and coach (Chris) Beard and his staff have done here. It’s tremendous,” Boynton said. “I’m not sure five years ago this would have been considered a big win, to be perfectly honest. This is a huge win for us, for our kids, for our program.”
The Cowboys had a 45-34 lead after Likekele’s jumper with 16:14 left, the last time they led by double digits. Kyler Edwards hit a 3-pointer that started a tying 15-4 run, with Texas Tech getting even at 49 on a free throw by Marcus Santos-Silva with 8:58 left.
Edwards finished with 18 points, and Terrence Shannon Jr. had 13. Both had seven rebounds.
There were then seven lead changes, with Texas Tech going ahead when Shannon had a rebound and putback after Edwards missed a 3-pointer from the corner.
Likekele drove for a layup with 43 seconds left in regulation but missed a free throw that would have tied the game. Cunningham evened it at 68 when he made three free throws with 27 seconds left, and Edwards was called for a foul away from the ball with the Red Raiders trying to set up a game-winning score.
“Overall, we’ve just got to be disciplined,” Santos-Silva said. “(Likekele) misses a free throw, we have a violation, we fouled a 3-point shooter. We’ve just got to work on our mental mistakes. We had the game in our hand.”
The Cowboys jumped to a 22-10 lead in the first eight minutes during a stretch when Williams made three 3-pointers, and Likekele scored five points in a row.
“The message to the team was in the first half we got kicked because Oklahoma State was the tougher, more aggressive team. Now you’re playing from behind against a Big 12 team,” Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said. “The first half we got out-toughed. That hasn’t happened a lot to our team.”
Oklahoma State plays its third consecutive Top 25 team, at home against No. 9 West Virginia on Monday night.
Texas Tech plays at Kansas State on Tuesday night.