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Cowboy basketball blog: takeaways from OSU’s road loss to Texas

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Thomas Dziagwa shoots over Texas' Elijah Mitrou-Long during the Oklahoma State - Texas Big 12 Conference game at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Jan 8, 2019.

To end the downhill slide, the Oklahoma State men's basketball team can't rely on one or two players.

Thomas Dziagwa led OSU's offense Saturday.

He broke personal records, but his hot 3-point shooting couldn’t carry the Cowboys to a victory.

Texas defeated OSU 69-57 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The Cowboys’ Big 12 losing streak extended to eight, setting a mark they wanted to avoid.

Dziagwa, a junior guard, scored 23 points, a career high. He hit seven 3-pointers, another career high, and made two free throws.

The Cowboys need multiple players to have games like Dziagwa’s to stop the bleeding in Big 12 play. Although Isaac Likekele, OSU’s freshman starting point guard, contributed 16 points, the other Cowboys stayed fairly quiet on offense. Lindy Waters III and Cameron McGriff, his fellow captains, played the whole game, but each notched five points against the Longhorns.

Throughout this losing streak, OSU (9-16 overall, 2-10 Big 12) has often had one or two players who made big impacts. It hasn’t always been Dziagwa.  

When the Cowboys fell to Texas Tech on Wednesday, McGriff scored OSU’s first nine points. The Red Raiders prepared for Dziagwa’s 3-point-shooting prowess and held him to three points.

Each Cowboy needs to stay focused to escape this situation.

No one is to blame for this record-setting losing streak. Mike Boynton, OSU’s coach, is maintaining his cool, collected demeanor in the face of unusual adversity. Without Mike Cunningham, Michael Weathers, Maurice Calloo and Kentrevious Jones, the Cowboys can’t help that they have eight scholarship players and seven available because bench player Trey Reeves broke his right foot. The grind of college basketball is tough for anyone, but the Cowboys are playing extended minutes with few substitute options.

Texas (15-11, 7-6) has talented players.

Kerwin Roach II, a senior guard, had 16 points and two steals. Dylan Osetkowski, a senior forward, shot 5-for-5 from the field, but the Longhorns and Cowboys are at a comparable skill level.

OSU slipped past Texas when they faced each other Jan. 8 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, before three player dismissals reduced the Cowboys’ roster, though Cunningham left before that game. An obvious problem, one that carries through each of OSU’s Big 12 games since the Jan. 16 dismissals, was that Texas had more bench options, so their players had more opportunities for rest and recovery.

The Cowboys return to Stillwater to face TCU at 8 p.m. Monday. To secure a victory against the Horned Frogs, Dziagwa needs to be a sharpshooter from 3-point range, and so does Waters. McGriff needs to electrify Gallagher-Iba Arena with not only his effort plays but also his dunks. Curtis Jones and Duncan Demuth, OSU’s two available scholarship substitutes, need to make an impact. The Cowboys had two bench points against the Longhorns, each from Duncan Demuth.

After OSU lost to Texas Tech, Boynton said he has no magic solution.

“Part of it is, you just gotta get tired of getting your butt kicked,” Boynton said.

The Cowboys are tired of it, but it isn’t easy to get out of the rut with seven available scholarship players. If each of them focus and find a rhythm, as Dziagwa and Likekele did against the Longhorns, then they have a chance.

sports.ed@ocolly.com