NORMAN, Okla. — Cade Cunningham unleashed his best performance yet in his first Bedlam rivalry game.
Oklahoma State’s freshman star scored 10 of his season-high 40 points in overtime to help the Cowboys defeat No. 7 Oklahoma 94-90 on Saturday.
“I think getting the win was how I wanted to put my plant on Bedlam,” the 6-foot-8 point guard said. “I have a trust in my coaches and teammates allowing me to get 40, but I think we all played to win, and that’s what I’m most happy about.”
Now, the Cowboys will try to duplicate the performance – the teams will meet again on Monday at Oklahoma State. Cunningham said being ready for the rematch will go beyond ice tubs, healthy eating and rest.
“We just put a big physical toll on ourselves, so just making sure that we’re mentally ready, knowing personnel, watching film — things like that — those are the best things you can do,” he said.
Cunningham, the Big 12’s leading scorer, blew away his previous scoring high of 29 points. He made 12 of 21 field goals and 13 of 14 free throws. He also finished with 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Many project Cunningham to be the first pick in this year’s NBA draft. The Sooners found out why up close.
“He’s not predicted No. 1 for no reason,” said Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves, the No. 2 scorer in the conference. “He’s a player. We knew he was a really good player, and he performed tonight, to say the least.”
Bryce Williams and Avery Anderson III each scored 15 points for Oklahoma State (16-6, 9-6 Big 12), which won its fourth straight.
De’Vion Harmon matched a career high with 23 points and Reaves had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Oklahoma (15-7, 8-7), which was coming off an upset loss at Kansas State.
“I’m not worried,” Harmon said. “We’ll get it right. We’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got another one on Monday, so we’ve got to turn around quick.”
Saturday’s game was an intense back-and-forth contest with plenty of hard, clean fouls.
Oklahoma, aided by an 11-0 run, led 38-31 at halftime. Harmon had 14 points at the break for Oklahoma while Cunningham had 13 for the Cowboys.
A 3-pointer by Harmon pushed the edge to 10 at the start of the second half before Oklahoma State surged. Williams hit a 3-pointer to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 51-50, and Cunningham’s deep 3 put the Cowboys ahead.
With Oklahoma State up by two, Reaves drove and found Brady Manek for the tying layup with seven seconds to play in regulation. Cunningham lost control of the ball while looking to create space for a game-winning shot, forcing overtime.
Oklahoma couldn’t control Cunningham in the extra period, and now, the Sooners will have to find answers quickly.
“Same thing we’ve always done,” Harmon said. “Whether we win or lose, watch the film and get better. We can get better from every game that we play, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys got a road win over a Top 10 team. The victory likely will vault them into the Top 25 and likely improve their NCAA Tournament seed.
Oklahoma: The Sooners really need to win the rematch on Monday to avoid a tailspin. Even with the number of quality wins the Sooners have tallied, they can’t afford too many losses this close to the NCAA Tournament selection process.
Oklahoma State’s Isaac Likekele, a junior guard who is one of the Cowboys’ most consistent players, missed the game with a hand injury. His status for Monday’s game is uncertain.
Anderson said Likekele played the role of assistant coach well on Saturday.
“I would say he’s Coach B (Mike Boynton), part two. Always talking to everybody, telling us the right things.”
Oklahoma State improved to 4-0 in overtime this season, with all the wins coming against ranked teams. The Cowboys won at Texas Tech on Jan. 2, at home against Texas in double overtime on February 6 and at home on Feb. 22 against Texas Tech before pulling off Saturday’s win.