AUSTIN, Texas — Oklahoma State surged through a series of admitted must-win scenarios with a three-game winning streak.
Then Wednesday’s trip to Texas took on a can’t-win feel before tipoff, eventually playing out as such, with the Longhorns pulling away, 69-59.
Before 12,042 at the Erwin Center, where OSU had won but twice since the inception of the Big 12, the Cowboys took a hit before ever stepping on the floor when starting forward Matt Pilgrim was suspended for violation of team rules.
Then with James Anderson struggling to get on track… and Obi Muonelo and Keiton Page misfiring… and turnovers and fouls mounting… all the feel-good fuzziness from the previous three games dissipated.
So did the winning streak, as the Cowboys fell to 19-8 overall and 7-6 in Big 12 play. And things don’t get any easier Saturday, with No. 1-ranked Kansas due in Stillwater.
Much of Wednesday’s defeat revolved around Pilgrim’s absence.
The Longhorns worked OSU’s interior, with center big Dexter Pittman bullying his way to 16 points. Pittman had been struggling in conference play, yet found the softened Cowboys middle to his liking, posting his highest point total in league play and making all five shots from the field.
"Pittman had one of the best games I’ve seen him have this year,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. "They took advantage of us having Matt Pilgrim out of the game. They went to their strengths.
"We just didn’t have much resistance around the rim.”
With Pilgrim missing, the Cowboys were forced to rely on help inside, leading to Anderson picking up two fouls in the opening 5:10.
Wednesday's box score