Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys are back in the Big 12 title hunt
Oklahoma State is the hottest team in the Big 12 — and it has a favorable closing league schedule.
AUSTIN, Texas — The defining sequence from Oklahoma State's Wednesday win over Baylor — Michael Cobbins' block and Markel Brown's daring coast-to-coast layup — remains etched as the snapshot moment of that game.
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Moving forward, might it maintain staying power, perhaps providing the reflective signature moment in a special season?
Already, the streaking Cowboys are back in the Big 12 title chase. And they're positioned for the long haul, with a favorable closing league schedule and a team suddenly revealing late-game toughness. Wednesday's thrilling finish was OSU's third straight final-possession verdict.
All wins, too, part of a four-game Big 12 winning streak that stands as the program's longest in conference play since Travis Ford's first year.
Now, there are assumptions involved in painting the Cowboys as a contender, even a favorite for the league championship. There's need to believe that last weekend's conquest at Kansas represents a breakthrough for a team previously considered incapable on the road. And there's required reading of this team's development, a sense that a young nucleus is growing before our eyes.
Both assumptions get put to the test Saturday, when OSU visits struggling Texas for a 12:45 p.m. tip.
The No. 22-ranked Cowboys haven't won at the Erwin Center since 2004 and have dropped 11 of the last 13 in the series. But then, before the Pokes knocked off the Jayhawks last week, they hadn't pulled out of Lawrence with a win since 1989, or pre-Eddie Sutton.
“That was a great way to break it,” OSU guard Markel Brown said of his team's overall road losing scuffles. “Now it's time to keep it rolling.
“We've got a lot more road games to go. I think we'll get some more victories on the road. Beating Kansas, at Kansas, it built a lot of confidence for this team.”
And these last three wins, all against NCAA Tournament-caliber clubs — Iowa State, KU and Baylor — may have built some crunchtime character.
“We've been through a lot of adversity this year,” said point guard Marcus Smart. “That's all coming into play right now. It's late in the season, this is when teams start to rise and come out and play their best ball. We've made some great plays at tough moments. The team that wants it more comes out with a win.”