Oklahoma State Sees Climb in NCAA NET Rankings Following Win Over WVU

STILLWATER – Monday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena was an important night for Oklahoma State. Maybe not in the sense that it would decide the remainder of conference play for the Pokes, considering there’s still more than two months of league play left, but from the standpoint of they needed a good bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Kansas.

The Pokes led by 15 at halftime, but saw that lead dwindle quickly in the second half, with KU taking the lead just under the 11-minute mark. The Pokes kept the game incredibly close, even taking back the lead on a big 3-pointer from Bryce Thompson just under two minutes left, then him tying the game with an even bigger 3-pointer with 14 seconds left. But KJ Adams hit a bucket with six seconds left to put the Jayhawks back up two and that was that.

The Cowboys saw another double-digit lead evaporate against the Mountaineers on Monday, with Erik Stevenson hitting three-straight 3-pointers to put WVU up 53-51. However, the Pokes fought back and rallied for the 67-60 win.

“The kids did it. My message to them was, we got to decide if we really want to be a good team,” said Mike Boynton. “Coming close, playing really well for stretches of games and coming up short. You know, we’ve been here: Virginia Tech, UConn. If we really want to be a team that’s significant in February, March, you find a way to get the job done at the end of the day. Whether it’s one point, 10 points or six points like it was today, you find a way to come up with a loose ball, take a charge, make a big shot.”

Because of that effort, the Cowboys were rewarded with a bump in the NCAA NET rankings up to No. 37. The Cowboys were previously ranked No. 40. They’re also up to No. 27 in the KenPom.

“You’re sitting here on January 2nd with five losses and people just can’t understand that because you haven’t played a bunch of Big 12 league teams prior to this,” Boynton said. “But again, I’m not gonna sit back as a guy who watches these kids practice and see the growth that we’ve made and ignore it and then not be able to tell people what’s actually happening. Our team is significantly better today than we were on December 2nd. And that’s a testament to the kids because we had to change some things and how we were playing, to be able to have success in games like this. And to their credit, they’ve taken that coaching and they’ve put it into practice.”

The Cowboys have a chance to improve their standing in all the rankings this coming Saturday, Jan. 7, as they play host to No. 6 Texas. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT, and will be televised on ESPNU.

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