When the Baylor Bears come to town bringing their bump and grind smash-mouth version of Big 12 defense it helps to have an explosive athlete. The kind of athlete that can take your pick, glide by the sixth-ranked Bears defenders, pull off that reverse lay-in in tight quarters under the basket, and also knock down an open 3-pointer.
That's when Cowboy fans need to be very glad that Davon Dillard stayed around, weathered the drought, and received enough love to be happy when his basketball persona was in tears.
Those three scenarios described above took place in the first half of Wednesday's mid-week offering in front of a loud 8,170 fans in Gallagher-Iba Arena looking to yell the Cowboys win streak on from six to seven, plus help the Cowboys to back-to-back wins over top 10-ranked teams for the first time since the 2004 Cowboys NCAA March to the Final Four in San Antonio.
"Even though basketball wasn't going well I was still happy," Dillard said the other day. "The rest of my life was good, my classes, the students, everybody on campus showed me love. My teachers, faculty, people in town. They didn't care if I was playing or not, so that is what made me love this place."
The first half performance by Dillard brought his playing time up a little more as he is averaging 10.1 minutes a game, playing in 15 of the Pokes 23 games and averaging 12 minutes in the six-game win streak. In the first half Wednesday night he played nine minutes, going right back in after he came out for the first time. He had seven points and two rebounds. He was 2-for-4 from the field and hit his only three and both his free throws.
It wasn't enough as Baylor had a slight lead at half, 34-30.
Out done by only one in the first half by only Jeffrey Carroll who had 13 points, Dillard was back in before the 16-minute mark in the second half. Dillard's athleticism allowed Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood to go with a smaller line-up.
The cross roster contributions continued in the second half with Dillard playing tough defense against Baylor's Johnathan Motley and Terry Maston, guys that outsized him by five and three inches respectively. Dillard got a steal and then later was stuck and pushed and shoved into fouling. Baylor's physical push and shove style looked like it was too much.
Then after Baylor used its last time out with a double digit lead at 2:11, the Cowboys went on a 12-0 run that included several steals, two huge drives from Evans, a Forte three, all the classic ingredients. For almost two minutes athleticism and basketball skill took over.
With 13.7 seconds left they were forced to foul and Lecomte hit his two free throws. Evans tried a three and Forte with an offensive board scrambled for a last ditch three that fell off the front of the rim for a 72-69 verdict and the end of the streak, but because of contributions across the board and the streak, the season is far from over. Dillard finished with nine points and he'll be back too, Saturday against Texas.