By MURRAY EVANS , Associated Press
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Lindy Waters III scored 19 points on 5-of-5 3-point shooting and Oklahoma State avoided an 0-3 start in Big 12 play, nearly blowing a 19-point lead before beating Texas 61-58 on Tuesday night.
Isaac Likekele hit two free throws with 10.4 seconds left and Cameron McGriff added 12 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma State (7-8, 1-2), which has won seven of its last eight games against Texas (10-5, 2-1) in Stillwater, a run that matches the Cowboys’ home-court success in the series from 1925 to 1964, long before the schools became conference rivals.
Kerwin Roach II had 18 points to lead Texas, which missed its first 13 3-point attempts and finished 2 of 22 from behind the arc. The last of those misses, by Courtney Ramey, came at the buzzer as the Longhorns tried to tie the game.
Oklahoma State had held its first two Big 12 opponents, Iowa State and Oklahoma, to season-low shooting percentages, but the Cowboys also struggled offensively in both of those games. Those offensive issues surfaced in the second half, as the Cowboys had only two field goals in the final 12½ minutes, but they did just enough to hang on.
While Oklahoma State hit 6 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half, Texas missed all nine of its attempts from 3-point range and the result was predictable — a 39-22 halftime lead for the Cowboys.
Waters made all four of his 3-point attempts in the half, staking Oklahoma State to the lead. The fourth, at the 4:40 mark, put the Cowboys up 32-14 and their lead peaked at 19 at 39-20 after Waters hit two free throws with 1:06 left. Six seconds later, after Texas lost the ball on a turnover, most of the crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena rose to its feet to applaud the Cowboys’ effort.
Texas started the second half on an 8-2 run to cut its deficit to 41-39 and pulled within 48-41 on a twisting drive-and-basket by Roach with 8:31 left. As the Cowboys struggled against Texas’ press and went almost seven minutes without a basket, Texas came within 53-47 on a 3-point play by Jaxson Hayes with 6:11 to go.
Waters broke Oklahoma State’s long drought with his fifth 3-pointer with 5:47 left, but Texas kept coming and was within 57-54 after Roach made a pair of free throws with 1:28 left. Likekele and Hayes traded baskets before Matt Coleman III’s basket with 11.9 seconds left got Texas within 59-58.
Waters became only the third Oklahoma State player to make as many as five 3-pointers in a game without a miss, joining Phil Forte (6 of 6 vs. Oklahoma in 2014) and Desmond Mason (5 of 5 vs. Kansas in 2000).
Texas: Given an opportunity to start 3-0 in Big 12 play and remain atop the league standings, the Longhorns struggled to find open shots and were sloppy with the basketball in the first half and put themselves in a deep hole by committing nine turnovers against a team that thrives on its defense.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were in desperate need of a feel-good win and got it. After one more road game, they’ll have a chance to build momentum with a five-game homestand.
Texas: Home on Saturday against in-state rival Texas Tech before a game at No. 7 Kansas on Monday.
Oklahoma State: Visit West Virginia on Saturday before beginning the homestand on Monday against Baylor.