Bedlam Series heats up as No. 7 Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State
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The last time Oklahoma State faced a ranked Oklahoma team, Kalib Boone was in the stands watching.
It was that game, an 83-81 Cowboys win in overtime more than three years ago, that led Boone and his twin brother Keylan to commit to Oklahoma State.
Now a sophomore, Kalib Boone is playing a major role for the Cowboys as they make their push to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.
Oklahoma State starts a daunting eight-day stretch Saturday against No. 7 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.
After Saturday's game, the teams will turn around and play again two days later. That meeting in Stillwater was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but was moved to Feb. 25 after COVID-19 protocols shut down Oklahoma State's program for a time in January.
That meeting was recently shifted to Monday as the Big 12 began to set the schedule for the final week of the regular season.
Boone, like plenty of people in Oklahoma, grew up rooting for the Sooners in football.
But when he made his first visit for an Oklahoma State basketball game, a game in which Trae Young scored 48 but the Cowboys found a way to win, his allegiance was firmly sealed on the side of Oklahoma State.
"You go to Stillwater and then you just flip a switch," Boone said. "That game means a lot more to me than anything. I know Coach (Scott) Sutton and I play this game for Coach Sutton because I know how much he loves this rivalry."
Sutton, a Cowboys assistant, is the son of legendary Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton and played for his father.
Oklahoma State comes into the game hot, having won three consecutive games, including Monday's overtime win over No. 18 Texas Tech.
But Cowboys coach Mike Boynton is cautious.
"Momentum's not a word that I love," Boynton said. "I get the sentiment, but I believe your momentum is only as good as your preparation."
Saturday's Bedlam Series matchup starts a daunting gauntlet to end the regular season for the Cowboys (15-6, 8-6 Big 12). The stretch features back-to-back matchups with the Sooners and road games at undefeated No. 2 Baylor and No. 10 West Virginia.
Oklahoma (14-6, 9-5) is trying to regain its footing after losing 62-57 at Kansas State on Tuesday to slip out of the No. 2 spot in the Big 12.
While the Sooners had won three consecutive games going into that matchup and eight of their previous nine, Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger had talked repeatedly in recent weeks about the need to sharpen up offensively.
Even though guards Austin Reaves and De'Vion Harmon were solid on that end of the floor against the Wildcats, the rest of the Sooners shot just 28 percent from the floor.
It's not a problem with one simple solution, according to Kruger.
"We've got to get the ball moving a little bit more, get it out of our hands a little more quickly, cut sharper, set better screens," he said. "All those basic things that you have to do to get better shots because we really haven't shot it very well for a while.
"So, we've got to clean that up and do it (quickly). ... We've got to be a lot sharper offensively."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 25, 2021