Isaac Likekele, a freshman point guard on the Oklahoma State men’s basketball game, talked to reporters Friday about the Cowboys’ upcoming game against Texas. OSU will strive to break a seven-game Big 12 losing streak when it faces the Longhorns at noon in Austin, Texas.
Q: That first game you guys played against (Texas) this year, you obviously helped finish off that win. How big of a game was that for you?
A: It was a big game. Mainly because I think that was, that got us, what, our second win in conference? And it was just fun to go out there and just enjoy having a great time; and everybody likes to be clutch down the stretch, and that’s what really just made it even more fun. And then how it came down to the wire, there was a lot of excitement, and I like exciting games.
Q: How comfortable are you in a close game, a couple minutes left, having the ball in your hands?
A: I’m very comfortable. As long as I feel like the team believes in me, which I feel like they do, and Coach (Mike Boynton) and them believe in me, all I can do is try my best to just be the best player I can down the stretch and to just bring the game to the final result that we want, which is a win.
Q: How do you set aside a game like (the Texas Tech loss) so quickly and move on?
A: You just gotta look forward to the next game, because if you really just let that game in the past really hold you back, it’s gonna happen again. In this league, every game’s tough. No team’s gonna feel sorry for us … We just have to be watching film. We just have to put it behind us. Everybody’s been in the gym still working hard in practice. Had a great practice (Thursday); like to have a great practice (Friday), and just going to Texas and really just compete like we know how and play hard, I feel like the game should really go our way.
Q: What was it like watching that film?
A: Of course you don’t like watching that type of film, but it’s needed. It’s needed just to really just learn, and we learned a lot of things watching that film; and there’s a lot of uncharacteristic things we did as a team. A lot of uncharacteristic things we looked at and really didn’t even look like us. As a team, whether we have a lot of people or not, that just wasn’t us or how we play, so we look to really turn it around down there in Austin.
Q: What are some of those things you noticed that weren’t like you guys usually?
A: We didn’t have that competitive edge that we normally have, that toughness that we normally have. It just looks like we were just really lackluster in energy, but we definitely look to turn that around in Austin and really get back to playing hard and making teams uncomfortable and doing what we do. That starts on the defensive end, and always be the toughest-playing team every night. Regardless if we win or lose, we look to be the toughest team every night.
Q: (You made) clutch free throws at the end of that last Texas game, but you also had to defend the final shot from Texas. What goes through your mind in those moments?
A: You really don’t think too much, because once you start overthinking, that’s whenever you’re bound to mess up. I really just shot those free throws with (the mindset of) if it goes in, it goes in. If it don’t, you gotta go get a stop. But they ended up going in ... It took a little thinking because they were down three. You kind of know that they’re going to try to go for a 3, so you really weren’t too worried about the drive, so you just play the 3 ball; and then that’s when forcing them to shoot it really matched out at the end, and we ended up winning.
The game will air on CBS and Cowboy Radio Network.