STILLWATER — Let’s get this point across first: There are no moral victories.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton doesn’t put much stock in them. Neither does junior guard Thomas Dziagwa.
“Losing is unacceptable,” Dziagwa said. “Any time we step on the court, no matter who it’s against, we plan on winning and we practice to win.”
It’s why Oklahoma State, at 10-19 and 3-13 in the Big 12, isn’t pleased with recent results as it heads to Baylor (19-10, 10-6) for its final road game of the 2018-19 season. Since playing the Bears on Jan. 14, at a time when OSU was 2-2 in conference play, it is 2-11. Baylor is 10-4, a run sparked by its victory in Stillwater nearly two months ago.
Even still, OSU can’t deny its improvement over the past week. Since losing by 39 points at Kansas State on Feb. 23, the Cowboys took Texas Tech — a projected No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament — to overtime in Lubbock, Texas. It led Kansas more often than it trailed before faltering down the stretch on Saturday.
For a team set to return all seven scholarship members of its rotation, is that a silver lining?
“When you respond to the adversity the way they have, it can only benefit you,” Boynton said Saturday. “The alternative is, a month and a half ago, they say, ‘We can’t win,’ which is what they were told, and they believe it, and they’re pointing fingers at why the success isn’t happening or they start to think about how they could make it go for themselves throughout this process. None of them have done that.
“(It) also excites me that the next way you build it is you’ve gotta have more people interested in coming to help you. We have that, so recruiting is a big deal in this thing, and recruits believe in what we’re doing, so as much as what these guys are doing shows that this team has a pulse still. The fact that there’s some really good players out there that are still interested in what we’re doing at 10-19 now shows that we’ve got a chance to really build something long-lasting.”