STILLWATER — Oklahoma State is finding an alternative to its poor shooting from the floor.
Shoot free throws instead.
The Cowboys attempted a season-high 44 foul shots Saturday — making 32 of their final 34 — a critical difference in an 81-75 Bedlam win over Oklahoma before an estimated 9,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
OSU, 10th in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage, turned aggressive in a two-pronged attack strategy against Oklahoma:
1. Get to the line;
2. Get the depth-challenged Sooners in foul trouble.
The Cowboys succeeded on both fronts, rallying from a big early deficit.
“When you're aggressive, getting it inside or driving it,” said OSU coach Travis Ford, “you're going to create some fouls. That's what we were trying to do.”
The Cowboys won their second straight, improving to 16-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play. The Sooners had their four-game winning streak halted, falling to 12-10 and 4-4.
In their back-to-back wins over OU and Missouri, the Cowboys shot 87 foul shots, making 65, including 39 against the Sooners.
OSU went to the line 25 times in the first half, a key in climbing back from an early 21-6 deficit.
“I've never had a team shoot 44 free throws (against me),” said Sooners coach Jeff Capel. “(Kevin) Durant's team didn't at Texas. Kansas' team didn't that year. Twenty-five free throws in a half?
“They're aggressive and things like that … they were more aggressive than us, I guess.”
That was the plan, too.
The Sooners' starters play more minutes than any five in the league, leaving their bench inexperienced and unproven. The Cowboys wanted to force OU to use that bench — and send starters to the bench — which they did early, with five Sooners picking up at least two fouls, including reserves C.J. Washington and Tyler Neal with three each.
Saturday's box score