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Cowboys' fight shows in season-ending loss to TCU

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before Wednesday’s Big 12 Tournament game even began, the wear of Oklahoma State’s basketball season showed on the Cowboys’ players.

Freshman point guard Isaac Likekele had therapeutic tape up and down the front of his right knee. Freshman center Yor Anei had the same on the back of his left. A sleeve on Lindy Waters’ right calf joined the tape on his left knee. It surrounded Thomas Dziagwa’s right wrist.

Those physical ailments and however they affected the Cowboys didn’t show Wednesday. Instead, it was the fight and effort that defined this season that took center stage, even in a 73-70 loss to TCU that ended Mike Boynton’s second season at the helm.

“In a lot of ways this was a 40-minute microcosm of what we've been, who we've been,” Boynton said.

The Cowboys (12-20) rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit, taking their first lead after scoring 16 straight points to go ahead 70-68 with 26.1 seconds left. Waters provided the go-ahead free throws, finishing with 17 points, seven assists and four steals.

But Desmond Bane gave the lead back with a corner 3-pointer, and Waters’ attempt at a go-ahead jumper bounced high off the rim, burning needed seconds, and into the arms of TCU point guard Alex Robinson, who made a pair of free throws to seal the victory and send the Horned Frogs (20-12) to a quarterfinal matchup with top-seed Kansas State and possibly the NCAA Tournament.

“I thought that I got a good shot,” Waters said. “I got to where I wanted to and left a little bit of time off the clock but just missed it.”

Waters entered the season as one of only three returners and ended the year as one of the Cowboys’ seven scholarship players, the result of a January that saw one player leave the program and three others dismissed from it.

OSU lost its first seven Big 12 games after the dismissals, a victory against the Horned Frogs snapping a program-record conference skid. But that win preceded a 39-point defeat at Kansas State to start a run of four straight games against the league’s top four teams.

Despite many reasons at that point to give up on the season, the Cowboys did not. They lost to Texas Tech and Kansas by a combined nine points before beating Baylor, then ended the regular season by beating West Virginia to avoid last in the Big 12.

OSU arrived in Kansas City believing it had the chance to win the four games in four days necessary to win the tournament and seemed to have the same mindset even after falling down 53-32 with 16:29 to play Wednesday.

“I'm not sure I’ve ever been more proud of a team,” Boynton said.

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) hits a 3-pointer while being contested by TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half of their Big 12 Conference Tournament game on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. TCU won 73-70 to end the Cowboys' season. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal]</strong>

Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) hits a 3-pointer while being contested by TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half of their Big 12 Conference Tournament game on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. TCU won 73-70 to end the Cowboys' season. [Chris Neal/The...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f88b197e995948f0183d0a98e6d59437.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) hits a 3-pointer while being contested by TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half of their Big 12 Conference Tournament game on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. TCU won 73-70 to end the Cowboys' season. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] " title=" Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) hits a 3-pointer while being contested by TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half of their Big 12 Conference Tournament game on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. TCU won 73-70 to end the Cowboys' season. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] "><figcaption> Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) hits a 3-pointer while being contested by TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half of their Big 12 Conference Tournament game on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. TCU won 73-70 to end the Cowboys' season. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d87f1289eb7cd95b4e8aaa847758ad6e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) wipes sweat from his head during a timeout in the second half of the Cowboys' season-ending loss to TCU in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] " title=" Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) wipes sweat from his head during a timeout in the second half of the Cowboys' season-ending loss to TCU in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] "><figcaption> Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) wipes sweat from his head during a timeout in the second half of the Cowboys' season-ending loss to TCU in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City. [Chris Neal/The Capital-Journal] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-27b9126d5de399aba4905d471e9a5ec2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f6dd4a02ff662d81acddd571cb104fc8.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, right, puts up a shot under pressure from TCU's Kevin Samuel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-275b6769e0460d16e0d619c0c540574b.jpg" alt="Photo - TCU's Kevin Samuel (21) competes for a rebound against Oklahoma State's Cameron McGriff, right, and Yor Anei during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="TCU's Kevin Samuel (21) competes for a rebound against Oklahoma State's Cameron McGriff, right, and Yor Anei during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>TCU's Kevin Samuel (21) competes for a rebound against Oklahoma State's Cameron McGriff, right, and Yor Anei during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f2369537699c96d34d6044cc3826ae04.jpg" alt="Photo - TCU's Kevin Samuel chases a loose ball during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="TCU's Kevin Samuel chases a loose ball during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>TCU's Kevin Samuel chases a loose ball during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9a95a37563ef53429986520e317cd6a7.jpg" alt="Photo - TCU's Kevin Samuel gets past Oklahoma State's Curtis Jones for adunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="TCU's Kevin Samuel gets past Oklahoma State's Curtis Jones for adunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>TCU's Kevin Samuel gets past Oklahoma State's Curtis Jones for adunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-57e86b7c9e9c50cb2df270cbd8f3a730.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Isaac Likekele watches the ball after his dunk during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State's Isaac Likekele watches the ball after his dunk during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State's Isaac Likekele watches the ball after his dunk during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3e1768f0a8f832a0ab2f01bb9a99f77e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, left, beats TCU's JD Miller to a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, left, beats TCU's JD Miller to a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State's Lindy Waters III, left, beats TCU's JD Miller to a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-51cb9b805db478fc0ff606341fc4c248.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton Jr. questions a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton Jr. questions a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton Jr. questions a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8d8a15a67715e1f029380489f496918b.jpg" alt="Photo - TCU coach Jamie Dixon talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="TCU coach Jamie Dixon talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>TCU coach Jamie Dixon talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e36226b039c985a0e47fdd71afd45a8f.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Yor Anei dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)" title="Oklahoma State's Yor Anei dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State's Yor Anei dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)</figcaption></figure>
Nathan Ruiz

A native of Reno, Nevada, Nathan Ruiz joined The Oklahoman in 2018 as an Oklahoma State beat writer. A former intern with The Oklahoman, Ruiz graduated from Oklahoma State in May of 2017 and also had internships with the Reno Gazette-Journal,... Read more ›

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