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Cowboys struggle to close out the game and fall in Big 12 opener

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Cade Cunningham

Cade Cunningham dribbles during Oklahoma State's win over Wichita State on December 12, 2020.

Oklahoma State held an eight point lead in the final two minutes of the game against TCU, but TCU came screaming back to take a one point lead on the heels of a 9-0 Horned Frogs run. 

The Cowboys, coming out of a timeout, turned to Cade Cunningham for the final possession and a fade away jumper from the left side didn’t fall, handing the Cowboys a 77-76 loss in their opening game of conference play. 

“We were trying to get (Cunningham) free and downhill to put some pressure on the rim,” coach Mike Boynton said. “At that point you have to rely on the kid to make a good decision. There’s nobody I trust more with the ball in his hands, he just hasn’t been through enough at this level to see how the defense is going to react. I felt good about (the final shot).

“We like our chances if he’s the guy making decisions late in the game.” 

This game marked the Cowboys first loss of the season and first loss in nine games dating back to last season. 

Oklahoma State struggled to shoot the ball in all three phases of the game shooting 28-of-67 from the field, 3-of-17 from three-point range and 17-of-26 from the free throw line. 

Despite the lackluster shooting performance, Cunningham led the way with 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting. 

“It’s certainly not helping that we aren’t shooting the ball from three consistently right now,” Boynton said. “But again we had an eight point lead with two minutes to go. We’ve got to find a way to close this game out.” 

OSU has eight freshmen on roster, four have dressed in every game this season and three saw time against TCU. For a young roster, struggles are expected and they showed that Wednesday in the Cowboy loss. 

“It’s one of those things you never want to happen,” Ferron Flavors said. “We’re going to compete and we’re going to learn from it.”

For the first time those freshmen will have to deal with collegiate defeat and find a way to bounce back with Big 12 play bringing a challenging road for the Cowboys. Four of the Cowboys next three games and four of the next five come against teams currently ranked in the top-15 in the AP Poll.  

“Welcome to Big 12 basketball, this is every night out,” Boynton said. “It’s a fight for 40 full minutes.”