STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)Senior forward Kalib Boone scored a career-high 25 points and Oklahoma State blew a 19-point second-half lead before recovering to beat depleted No. 15 TCU 79-73 on Saturday.
Caleb Asberry added 19 points and John-Michael Wright had 17 for Oklahoma State (14-9, 5-5 Big 12). The Cowboys have won three straight and five of six to move back into the conversation for a potential NCAA tournament berth.
Emanuel Miller led TCU with 17 points and Shahada Wells had 14.
”A hell of a Big 12 game,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. ”It was a battle like we anticipated against a team who I think is certainly one of the top 20, if not higher, teams in the country, even without the preseason conference player of the year. They’re deep. They’re fast. They’re athletic. But our guys met the challenge today.”
The Horned Frogs (17-6, 6-4) have struggled since their leading scorer, Mike Miles Jr., suffered a hyperextended right knee last Saturday early during a loss to Mississippi State. TCU also was minus injured big man Eddie Lampkin Jr.
”We’ve got to guard better,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. ”I thought we had worked on it a lot going into this game and we had a plan in place, but we didn’t get it done. Obviously, we were down a couple of guys, but they were down a guy, too. We were in a position to win the game, but we didn’t get it done and that’s on me.”
Dixon received a technical foul in the final minute of the first half and the Horned Frogs trailed 43-29 at the break. Five quick points by Asberry to open the second half gave Oklahoma State its biggest lead at 48-29 with 18:49 left.
An 20-3 run by TCU cut the deficit and Damion Baugh’s layup with 11:51 left pulled the Horned Frogs within 51-49 with 11:51 left. Oklahoma State answered with six straight points to quell the immediate threat.
TCU eventually tied it at 59 on three free throws by Baugh with 5:41 left, then took its first lead 33 seconds later on two free throws by Miller.
Wright took over down the stretch for the Cowboys. His 3-pointer with 3:38 left gave Oklahoma State the lead for good at 66-65 and started a 9-0 run that included a dunk by Boone that started with an over-the-shoulder save by Wright.
”I’m proud of how they approached the game from a mental standpoint,” Boynton said. ”You get up 19 points and you hope to be able to extend that … but the reality is it just doesn’t happen very often in this league.”
”They are all tournament-caliber teams and tournament-caliber teams find a way to respond and make sure that the game is at least going to be in the balance late. I thought our guys’ response to (TCU’s) response was obviously critical. We lost the lead there, then had to make some plays to win,” he said.
TCU pulled within 72-70 with 1:33 left on a 3-pointer by Wells, but Boone scored a pair of close-in baskets, the latter with 29.1 seconds left, to make it 76-71 and after a TCU miss, Asberry sealed the win with two free throws with 19.3 seconds left.
”Obviously, they are playing for their lives and so are we,” Dixon said. ”Everybody is in this league.”
Oklahoma State took a 12-0 lead as TCU missed its first eight shots and didn’t make a basket for 6 1/2 minutes. Oklahoma State eventually led 22-6 less than eight minutes in and the Cowboys’ lead never fell below double digits the rest of the half.
TCU: Miles can’t return fast enough for the Horned Frogs, who lost to Mississippi State in the game in which he was injured, then struggled to beat West Virginia at home before falling Saturday. The upcoming schedule for TCU looks daunting – No. 7 Kansas State, No. 11 Baylor and No. 13 Iowa State are its next three opponents, with the K-State and Iowa State games on the road.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys, now 2-6 this season against ranked foes, need all the big wins they can get as they look to position themselves for a NCAA tournament bid. To pick one up without one of their top players – Avery Anderson III – out with a wrist injury is a bonus.
DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?
During the postgame media conference, Boone was answering a question when he stopped and asked a rhetorical question he already knew the answer to.
”We really blew a 19-point lead?” he said, looking over at Wright with a grimace. Wright responded with a wry smile: ”And still won the game.”
TCU has been ranked for a program-record nine consecutive weeks and while the Horned Frogs might drop a few spots for the loss to Oklahoma State, they figure to make it 10 in a row, since they beat West Virginia earlier in the week.
TCU: Will visit No. 7 Kansas State on Tuesday.
Oklahoma State: Will host Texas Tech on Wednesday. The Cowboys are 10-2 this season at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
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