All eyes on Oklahoma State in NCAA tournament qualifier as team fights to reach bracket
Oklahoma State is trying to advance to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.
The Cowboys defeated Arizona State, 64-62, to reach the Final Four for the third time in five years.
They will play host to No. 9 seed Villanova on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Cowboys were 0-3 on the road against teams that were ranked higher than them this season, but they played well on both sides of the ball.
“We got some big wins,” coach Travis Ford said.
“It was just a great effort from the players.
They fought hard, and it showed.”
Oklahoma State finished with 16 turnovers, a season high.
“There’s no question we played a very, very good team, but we were just outplayed by Villanova,” said Oklahoma State guard Joe Harris, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think our guys stepped up to the plate.
The Cowboys, who were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, are playing in their fifth NCAA tournament since 2012. “
You’ve got to go out there and play the best you can.”
The Cowboys, who were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, are playing in their fifth NCAA tournament since 2012.
They lost their first two games of the season, and now sit at 9-6.
They’ve beaten Villanova in three straight NCAA tournament matchups, including the Final 4 in 2015, and they’ve lost all four meetings against Arizona State.
The Wildcats are coming off a win over the No. 1 seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the Elite Eight.
“If you’re a Villanova fan and you’re in the middle of a four-game winning streak and you play against a team that’s in the top 10, you can be really, really happy,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
Villanova shot a season-high 54 percent, including 10 for 16 from 3-point range, to help the Cowboys win their first game in the tournament.
The Cardinals, who shot 53 percent, were missing their leading scorer, point guard Nick Ward, who sat out due to a right shoulder injury.
Villavics forward Johnathan Williams had 10 points.
“They’ve been playing better,” Villavs forward T.J. Warren said.
Oklahoma State led by as many as 17 points in the second half.
The Aggies (11-7) shot 55 percent from the field and 21 of 32 from 3.
“A lot of guys made shots,” Wright said, “but we didn’t really have enough scoring.”
The Cardinals were coming off an 85-64 loss at the hands of No. 16 seed Kentucky in the NCAA tourney opener.
The two teams have met three times this season.
Oklahoma state scored the first seven points of the first half, but Arizona State closed the half on a 12-2 run.
“At the end of the day, it’s not going to be easy,” Arizona State coach Jay Triano said.
The Arizona Wildcats, who went 6-6 against Oklahoma State this season and were the conference’s top-seeded team, have won five straight in the series.
Arizona State is 6-3 against Oklahoma and won that series by one point.
“The first 20 minutes of the game were good for us,” Arizona state guard Jalen Adams said.
After a 3-pointer by Arizona State’s Justin Patton gave the Cowboys a 16-13 lead, the Wildcats scored on four straight possessions to cut the deficit to 12 with 2:38 left.
The ball bounced out of bounds in the paint for a turnover, but Adams dunked on the rebound and put the Cowboys up 13 with 2 seconds to go.
“As soon as they took a lead, they stayed aggressive,” Arizona’s Marcus Paige said.
Arizona also led by nine points in its final 5:37, but the Cowboys had a chance to take it to the house.
Arizona led 44-37 at halftime.
But it was just 4-of-12 shooting from the free throw line and the Wildcats took control again.
“Their shooting wasn’t great,” Wright told reporters.
“That’s why they won that game.”