Oklahoma State faces off with Oklahoma in Bedlam basketball

Feb. 9—Oklahoma State is looking to bounce back after a loss at No. 5 Houston, this time traveling to Norman for this season's first rendition of Bedlam basketball. When it's Bedlam, anything can happen.

The Cowboys sit at 10-13 overall, while the Sooners are 17-6. Past history has indicated those records don't matter very much. Under coach Mike Boynton, OSU is 7-1 in its last eight games against OU.

"No matter what kind of year we're having, and obviously we're not having the type of year we wanted to, it's a big deal," said Boynton during his weekly Thursday presser.

The Sooners had a better start than their record even suggests, finding themselves at 12-1 and ranked in the top 15. Then they faced the gauntlet that is the Big 12 and have gone 5-5 since.

"You can't take that into any consideration really, because the team's still a good team, even though they lost some games they should've won," guard John-Michael Wright said.

"They had Trae (Young) my first year as coach. This team is better than that team," Boynton said.

OU is led by Siena transfer Javian McCollum, who is averaging 14.5 ppg this season. As a team, they possess an athleticism that has not been present both offensively and defensively in several years.

"They can really make plays at the rim in a way that they haven't been able to, on both ends of the floor," Boynton said. "Offensively, they can get downhill on you and can finish...They're really good."

To win on Saturday, rebounding has to be an emphasis. As a team, Oklahoma ranks sixth in the conference in total rebounds, but forward Sam Godwin is the Big 12 leader in offensive rebounds.

Due to both size and inexperience, Oklahoma State sits in the bottom three of the conference in rebounding. Brandon Garrison will be playing in his fist bedlam on Saturday and will be tasked with a heavy load of winning the rebound battle.

Garrison grew up around the rivalry, being coached by Blake Griffin's father, Tommy Griffin, for many years. He also was recruited by both OSU and OU.

"Obviously, he's watched a lot of these games, but we need him to play well," Boynton said. "He's a big part of us being able to have success."

The struggle is finding a dynamic of using that as motivation, but not as an added pressure.

"I want him to enjoy being a part of something that feels really important to a lot of people," Boynton continued on Garrison. "In life, you don't get to do that very often... (But) I don't want it to feel like a burden. I want him to have fun on Saturday because it should be fun."

Freshman Connor Dow has seen bedlam first hand as well. He grew up in Broken Arrow, and recalls seeing the Lloyd Noble Center sold out, like it is for Saturday's game.

"It's gonna be a hostile environment," Dow said. "So you've just gotta go in knowing it's just us in there and we've gotta stick together to get this win."

The Cowboys have struggled historically inside the LNC, with an all-time record of 29-87. In the last seven games in Norman, Oklahoma State is 3-4.

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday night, with Oklahoma State looking to steal one from its rivals in the final season of guaranteed Bedlam basketball matchups, though the series is not expected to go away for long.

"I would put the chances of it happening next year pretty small, but I don't think it's an 'it's over' deal for basketball," Boynton said.