BYU's loss to Oklahoma State felt a bit too familiar

Oklahoma State shot BYU out of the gym on Saturday, and it felt all too familiar to other losses the Cougars have suffered this year.

BYU had no answer for Oklahoma State on Saturday
BYU had no answer for Oklahoma State on Saturday / William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
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BYU suffered a bad loss to a sputtering Oklahoma State team on Saturday. The final score was 93-83, where the Cowboys' hot shooting paired with the Cougars going ice cold from the field in a perfect recipe for a BYU loss.

Leading into the game, Oklahoma State was dead-last in Big XII standings, with wins against second-worst West Virginia and Kansas State. BYU was their first top-25 victory on the season and easily the Cougars' worst loss up to this point. Several factors must be addressed to turn this embarrassing loss into a learning experience for Mark Pope's locker room.

BYU Cougars, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State's offense was too much for BYU to handle / William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Poor defense continues

After giving up 62 points to UCF in the second half of their last game, the Cougars gave up 49 and 44 points in two halves against a team that has been weak offensively in Big XII play. They had eclipsed 70 points only 4 times in conference, but never higher than 75 until the 93 points they dropped on BYU. The Cowboys shot an unbelievable 50% from deep and nearly 60% from the field to run the Cougars out of their gym. Hot shooting or not, these are unacceptable numbers for a team that is hoping to boost its tournament resume. A defense that put up elite numbers earlier in the season has been losing its edge over the past few games and needs to find an identity if it hopes to compete in upcoming games against Kansas, Iowa State, and TCU.

Road rash

On the road, the Cougars have struggled mightily. Player stats are down across the board when the Cougars play away games, with Jaxon Robinson and Noah Waterman especially becoming shells of themselves. Unable to rely on the fantastic home court advantage of the Marriott Center, BYU can't seem to get into an offensive rhythm in opposing arenas. Whether this is just coincidence and poor luck, or if the Cougars lack mental toughness, this is an area of concern as their remaining schedule includes several difficult away games, and they won't have the benefit of home court in the postseason.

Cold Shooting

This game's outcome is very reminiscent of the Cougar's efforts in their other game in Oklahoma, where BYU lost by double digits in Norman against the Sooners. Many have faulted BYU for "living by the 3 and dying by the 3", and though they have made efforts to increase their inside scoring, if their 3-pointers aren't dropping, they rarely come away with a victory. In this game, BYU shot 23% from 3 and 44% from the field--a significant drop off from the Cowboys. These kinds of games happen to even the best basketball teams from time to time, when no shots will fall, no matter how good the shot quality. Wins will only come to the team that outscores the other, so if BYU is going through a shooting slump, their defensive effort has to double to keep themselves in games--they have to learn to win ugly.

BYU has now lost several games in similar fashion: ice cold shooting, and no backup plan to keep themselves in it. Oklahoma State had a lucky shooting night, but BYU has several takeaways for the trip back home, and will need to shift their focus to the next game.

BYU's next game will be against the Baylor Bears on Tuesday, February 20th in Provo.

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