The (NIT) Wait Begins

Oklahoma State's plans Sunday will include waiting for the NCAA Tournament field to be announced and then anticipating whether one of two other postseason tournaments – the National Invitation Tournament or the College Basketball Invitational – will want the Cowboys. OSU's hopes of playing in the "Big Dance" were erased with Friday's 66-59 loss to Texas in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal game.

The Cowboys, now 17-15, will be on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year. Texas improved to 27-5 with its third win over OSU this season.

Oklahoma State appeared to be in good shape against the nation's sixth-ranked team when junior Terrel Harris drilled a pair of three-point shots in the final minute of the first half – including a trey in the final seconds – to give the Cowboys a 33-32 halftime lead.

But the Longhorns showed why they tied for the Big 12 regular season championship (with Kansas) during the first eight minutes of the second half. Texas opened the second half with a 14-0 run and opened up a 13-point lead.

The Cowboys committed three turnovers and missed their first 12 shots to open the second half. Ibrahima Thomas' two free throws at the 13:32 mark were the Cowboys' first points of the second half, and they didn't score a basket until Obi Muonelo's three-pointer from the top of the key more than seven and a half minutes into the half.

OSU was 3-for-20 from the field during the first 15 minutes of the second half and still trailed 56-46. But the Cowboys did not go without a fight. Byron Eaton, James Anderson and Muonelo drilled three consecutive treys as OSU pulled within 58-55 with 3:39 remaining.

But the Longhorns made the plays down the stretch for the victory.

Thomas, the 6-foot-11 freshman from Senegal, had his moments against the Longhorns. He finished with a career-high 19 points, and scored 10 points in a row early in the game to give the Cowboys a 13-9 lead over the Longhorns. Muonelo was the only other OSU player in double figures with 13 points.

OSU is all but assured of playing in either the NIT (probably the more likely of the two) or the new College Basketball Invitational. The Cowboys' RPI was No. 75 entering Friday's quarterfinal game against Texas, and would appear to be a lock for one of the postseason tournaments.

The Cowboys will learn their fate Sunday evening when both the NIT selection committee and the CBI announce the field for their tournaments.

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