Anei, Cowboys to honor Final Four team against Texas Tech

MBB OSUvTCU

Yor Anei shoots during the Oklahoma State vs. TCU men's basketball game on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

Mike Boynton knew he would hear about it after the game. 

In the Oklahoma State basketball team’s most recent victory against Kansas State, center Yor Anei went out to retrieve a loose ball at half court. He noticed time was running out on the opposite shot clock and knew he needed to get it out of his hands.

So Anei pulled up from behind the arc and casually splashed in his first career 3.

Heading into the Cowboys’ game against No. 24 Texas Tech on Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena, Anei is a 100% 3-point shooter.

“He has been talking about it since the summer that he was a combo guard,” Boynton said with a smile. “And he is pretty convinced he is a good 3-point shooter. But I’m glad he didn’t take more and stayed perfect.”

Tuesday, Anei had his most impressive performance of conference play. He led OSU (12-12 overall, 2-9 Big 12) with 15 points and seven rebounds. 

Anei has struggled with consistency and foul trouble this season. As a sophomore, his name has moved up higher on opponents’ scouting report, as they look for ways to attack him.

But when Anei plays well, the Cowboys generally do, too

Getting his mind right for the game determines how he will play. Anei said his mental state is developed during his preparation.

“I think I can play better, but it’s tough,” Anei said. “I try to give it my all every game, but sometimes I come up short in my own goals. If my mind is right, I’m capable of playing a full game. If my mind’s not right, I’m capable of fouling out. It’s all a mental thing.”

Anei’s teammates help him from a mental standpoint as well.

Jonathan Laurent pulled Anei aside before the Kansas State game to get him focused.

“I told him we need him,” Laurent said. “As he goes, we go. Every game he’s played well this year we’ve pretty much won. We need the big man to play well. He knows that. It’s frustrating for him too when he plays badly so I’m glad to see him starting to pick it up.”

Saturday, Anei and the Cowboys face a Texas Tech (16-8, 7-4) team that blew out OSU in the teams’ first contest in Lubbock. 

The Red Raiders have taken off offensively in the second half of Big 12 play. They come to Stillwater riding a three-game winning streak.

OSU will also honor the 1995 team that reached the Final Four, highlighted by Bryant ‘Big Country’ Reeves. The team will be in attendance for the game and the Cowboys will wear throwback uniforms, black jerseys with white font and orange trim.

Boynton said it will be a good reminder of where the program wants to get to.

“It’s really important that our current players recognize where the bar is for our program,” Boynton said. “And it probably sounds absurd because we haven’t had a lot of postseason success recently, but that team, with coach Sutton at the lead, really let people know that Oklahoma State can be a national contender. 

“We want these young guys to understand where we’re trying to take this thing back to.”

 

sports.ed@ocolly.com