STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) – Oklahoma State finally got a win over a ranked team after falling short four times this season.
Avery Anderson was instrumental in Oklahoma State’s 61-59 victory over No. 12 Iowa State on Saturday, scoring 18 points, including the go-ahead free throws.
Kalib Boone added 13 points for the Cowboys (11-8, 3-4 Big 12), who rallied from a 16-point deficit to complete their largest comeback victory since 2009.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton was glad to top one of the league’s best teams. The Cowboys held Iowa State to 41% shooting.
“I think it means what I’ve always believed about our team,” he said. “It’s that we’re we’re going to be able to compete with anybody when we defend at the level we’re capable of. And on a night when we make shots, that gives us a chance to beat anybody in the country.”
Earlier this season, the Cowboys lost a 15-point lead at then-No. 4 Kansas before losing by two and were within three points of then-No. 11 Kansas State but lost by eight. The Cowboys also were competitive in losses to ranked opponents Connecticut and Texas.
Boynton said the fans carried the Cowboys on a day in which the team made just 16 of 28 free throws and committed 16 turnovers.
“It’s very rare you can play that way and win, when except for if you have a great, great home court environment,” he said.
Osun Osunniyi scored 15 points and Gabe Kalscheur added 14 for Iowa State (14-4, 5-2), which was without sharpshooter Caleb Grill for most of the second half.
Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said Grill’s back was stiffening up and he couldn’t move well, so Grill was on the bench in a brace. Before coming out of the game, he was held scoreless for just over 17 minutes – a contrast to his average of 10.9 points per game and 38% from 3-point range.
“Caleb leads us in minutes played for a reason,” Otzelberger said. “And obviously, I think he’s one of the best rebounding guards in the Big 12. He’s a tremendous shooter, excellent defender. So, yeah, I mean, certainly we’d love to have him down the stretch. But you know what? They they had their issues and injuries and things, too, and we’re all going to have them. That’s part of it. So there’s no excuses.”
Iowa State led 27-11 in the first half. The Cowboys cut their deficit to six but didn’t score for nearly three minutes to close the first half, and Iowa State was up 35-25 at the break. Osunniyi, who entered the day averaging 8.6 points per game, had four dunks and 12 points in the first half.
Oklahoma State rallied early in the second half, and the Cowboys finally took a 55-54 lead on a pair of free throws by Anderson with just over three minutes to play.
Oklahoma State led 60-59 in the final minute but Anderson traveled after being trapped in the corner. Iowa State’s Tre King missed a 3-pointer and committed a foul on the rebound attempt. Oklahoma State’s Woody Newton made the first free throw and missed the second with 3.3 seconds left, and Iowa State missed a desperation heave.
“When you play in the best league in the country, you have to be ready for this type of fight every night out,” Otzelberger said.
Iowa State: The Cyclones missed Grill late in the game. He’s a stabilizer for the Cyclones and one of their best shooters.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys overcame injuries to claim the win. Guard Bryce Thompson left the game early in the second half with a left leg injury; Boynton said he doesn’t believe it is anything serious. Moussa Cisse, a 7-foot-1 forward who leads the Big 12 in rebounding and blocked shots, played sparingly because he is recovering from an ankle injury. He went down in the closing seconds of this game, but Boynton said it was more of a scare than anything.
Boynton dove into the crowd to celebrate with the students afterward.
“It was kind of an out-of-body experience,” Boynton said. “Whatever it takes. I’m not a part of that. But we need those kids. And they need to know that that I’m with them. I personally need them. They give me life. I feel like I played today, to be perfectly honest.”