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Three takeaways from Cowboys’ loss to TCU

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OSU forward Yor Anei dunks during the Oklahoma State-Kansas State Big 12 Conference men’s basketball game at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater on Feb. 2, 2019.

Lindy Waters III had to make a move with three-tenths of a second left.

He lobbed the basketball across the court to Curtis Jones, who stood near the hoop.

Jones tipped the ball toward the basket, but it didn’t fall through the net.

The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team couldn’t break its losing streak.

TCU squeaked past the Cowboys 70-68 on Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas, extending OSU’s Big 12 losing stretch to five games.

Before Jones’ tip-in attempt, JD Miller made a buzzer-beater shot for the Horned Frogs, and his teammates celebrated with him on the court. Officials added three-tenths of a second back to the clock, but the Cowboys (9-13 overall, 2-7 Big 12) couldn’t capitalize on the extra time.

Here are three takeaways from the loss.

Three-pointers give TCU early momentum

TCU went 9-for-18 from 3 in the first half.

The Cowboys’ first-half zone defense didn’t seem to faze the Horned Frogs (16-6, 4-5).

They used their 3-point prowess to build a 39-28 lead going into halftime. OSU made only two 3-pointers in the first half.

Although the Cowboys made a comeback and led 65-60 after Yor Anei made a free throw, they couldn’t hold back Miller and Desmond Bane.

Bane, who led TCU with 26 points, shot 6-for-9 beyond the arc.

Freshman starters continue to grow

Three Cowboys scored in double digits, and only one was a team captain.

Junior Thomas Dziagwa had 14 points, but two freshmen outscored him.

Anei, a freshman starting forward, had a career-high 20 points and went 7-for-7 from the field. He also notched two blocks and five rebounds.

Isaac Likekele, a freshman starting guard, had 17 points.

Although the Cowboys are facing numerous obstacles this season, the struggles might benefit Anei and Likekele. On larger, more experienced teams, Anei and Likekele would have limited opportunities, but they are serving as key players on a thin roster and gaining valuable experience as freshmen. Their progression this season is noticeable.

Lack of depth still Cowboys’ primary problem

Each of OSU’s starters played for more than 30 minutes.

Although the Cowboys are fine-tuning their skills, they are still faced with the problem of few bench options.

The Cowboys have four available substitutes, and only two are on scholarship. Tanner Taylor and Gabe Simpson, the latest walk-on additions, haven’t competed in a game.

Jones played 20 minutes against the Horned Frogs. Duncan Demuth, who has dealt with a back injury, played one minute.

Despite adversity, the Cowboys are embracing coach Mike Boynton’s “Just us” mentality. The small but tight-knit group faces Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday in Lawrence.

sports.ed@ocolly.com