Texas Oklahoma St Basketball

Oklahoma State guard Keylan Boone (right) passes around Texas guard Devin Askew (left) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday in Stillwater. (AP Photo)

Keylan Boone didn’t need to attempt another 3-pointer.

The chances of a Texas comeback victory were dwindling, so the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team could secure an upset without late heroics. After senior guard Bryce Williams planted his mismatched shoes at the free-throw line and made two shots to ward off the Longhorns, the Cowboys simply had to eat time in the final minute and a half.

But Boone was having an electrifying day beyond the arc, so why not see if one more 3-pointer could fall?

The basketball splashed through the hoop, putting an exclamation point on Boone’s career game as the buzz of the crowd intensified. During the ensuing Texas timeout, OSU center Moussa Cisse fed off the energy in Gallagher-Iba Arena, raising his long arms to encourage the fans to stand.

The Cowboys pushed past the Longhorns, 64-51, on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater for their first Big 12 Conference win of the season. After rolling through the start of conference play with two victories, No. 14 Texas couldn’t overpower unranked OSU – especially with Boone’s storm of 3’s.

Junior guard/forward Boone recorded a career-high 17 points, going 5 for 7 beyond the arc, and coach Mike Boynton figured Boone would take that final 3-point shot with 1:27 left.

“He was in a rhythm,” Boynton said. “And although, as a coach, you want to use some more time, and if you miss it, you may be scratching your head if somehow it leads to an easy basket on the other end, you gotta implore your guys to be confident in what they do. And that’s what he does.”

Fortunately for Boynton, the Longhorns couldn’t give the Cowboys (8-5 overall, 1-1 Big 12 Conference) another scare. Senior guard Courtney Ramey missed a 3-point attempt soon before the last Texas timeout, and Williams capped the victory with two more free throws in the final minute.

As the buzzer sounded, senior guard Isaac Likekele tossed the basketball toward the rafters, celebrating a win that Texas coach Chris Beard described as “gutsy.”

OSU showed moxie early in the game, forcing eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes. With a group of legendary coach Henry Iba’s players watching from the stands, the Cowboys carried on their predecessors’ defensive principles.

After opening Big 12 play with a hard-fought loss to Kansas, OSU used that frustration as fuel to stifle the Longhorns (12-3, 2-1).

“They were pissed off the other night because they know, at the end of the day, what our identity is,” Boynton said. “We’ve had some games where we’ve scored a lot, but our identity is as a defensive-first team. It’s how we’re built.”

The Cowboys held every Longhorn to 10 or fewer points. Andrew Jones and Timmy Allen were Texas’ only double-digit scorers.

With the defensive fundamentals in place, OSU had to add some high-energy offense.

Cue Keylan Boone’s entrance off the bench.

In the first half, Boone went 4 for 4 from the field. He gave the Cowboys the offensive piece they had been missing in recent games and created a turning point for himself, too. Through OSU’s last three nonconference games, Boone made none of his 10 attempts from 3-point range.

The struggles couldn’t last forever.

“I’ve been always just trying to find that groove back,” Boone said. “The team, they stayed consistent with me. They still trusted me, so I just did my part … I just started believing a little more.”

Boone’s teammates also fit into their roles, whether they dished the ball to him or found their own ways to score. Cisse, who had eight points, threw down an alley-oop dunk to put the Cowboys up 42-38 partway through the second half. Junior guard Avery Anderson III went 2 for 8 from the field but played what was likely his “best game,” Boynton said. Anderson contributed six rebounds and four assists.

“He played the game like a guy who knew how to help his teammates have success,” Boynton said.

Although the Cowboys showed what happens when their individual games gel as one, Texas didn’t fall easily. The Longhorns had cut OSU’s lead to 52-50 with 3:29 left, but the Cowboys increased their advantage to 13 points by the end of the game.

Next, OSU plays three road games in one week, starting with a matchup against West Virginia at 8 p.m. Tuesday. It’s a taxing road trip, but the Cowboys have a source of inspiration with their newfound momentum.

“We have things to move forward,” Cisse said. “I feel like we’re gonna do big things in the next couple games, too.”

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