STILLWATER — Until Jan. 20, 2018, when they were juniors at Tulsa’s Memorial High School, twin brothers Kalib and Keylan Boone had not experienced a Gallagher-Iba Arena basketball game.
Their first one was memorable and personally significant.
The Boones witnessed a Bedlam showdown that matched a fourth-ranked, Trae Young-led Oklahoma team against a struggling Oklahoma State squad.
A sellout crowd of 13,611 saw Young make a 48-point statement and the Cowboys prevail 83-81 in overtime.
As OSU students stormed the court, the Boones made a decision.
On Saturday, about 45 minutes after Kalib Boone’s spark-plug performance was so impactful in another Bedlam victory for the Cowboys, he stood in an empty Gallagher-Iba and reflected on that Bedlam contest of two years earlier.
“That day, me and Keylan decided that we wanted to come to school at Oklahoma State,” Kalib said. “I decided that I really wanted to play basketball in this arena, and I decided that I really wanted to play Bedlam games in this arena.”
Now a 6-foot-9 Cowboy freshman, Kalib Boone played and flourished in this gym on Saturday.
The game changed at the 15:09 mark of the first half — the point at which he was sent to the floor for the first time.
Before Boone’s flurry of three buckets, Oklahoma State trailed 10-2. By game’s end, he had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and the Cowboys celebrated an 83-66 conquest of the Sooners.
For OSU, the 17-point margin of victory was the greatest in a Bedlam game since 2010 — when the Boone twins were third-graders in Tulsa.
Keylan Boone also had a nice first Bedlam home game, totaling seven points in 11 minutes. The Cowboys’ MVPs, though, were Cameron McGriff — who totaled a career-high-tying 28 points — and Kalib Boone.
For Oklahoma, Saturday’s Brady Manek stat line was a storyteller. When the Sooners defeated Oklahoma State in Norman three weeks earlier, Manek scored 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting overall and 7-of-13 shooting on 3-pointers. Against the Cowboys on Saturday, he had two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Last week, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had OU as a 10 seed on his Bracketology/NCAA Tournament projection. Now at 6-8 in the Big 12, and with four losses in the past six games, it seems more likely that the wobbly Sooners will join OSU on the NIT bracket than make another NCAA Tournament appearance.
Because of a bad December and worse January, the Cowboys need a miracle to make the March Madness field. Since an 0-8 conference start, however, they’ve won four times in six games.
That recent success fueled OSU’s belief that it could win in Bedlam, but getting such an outcome would require some offense.
With 3:27 remaining in the first half of Tuesday’s OSU-West Virginia contest in Morgantown, Lindy Waters III scored to give the Cowboys a 30-20 advantage.
With 14:55 left in the first half of Saturday’s Bedlam game at Gallagher-Iba, Kalib Boone scored to pull the Cowboys to within six points of Oklahoma.
Subsequent to the Tuesday Waters basket and the Saturday Boone basket, the Oklahoma State offense was sick and tired.
During a span of 38 game minutes — nearly the equivalent of a full, 40-minute game — the Cowboys mustered all of 19 points.
That lack of offensive punch explains why this season has been such a bust for the Cowboys, who were unbeaten through their first seven games but followed with 11 losses in their next 13 contests.
In six Big 12 games, Kalib Boone got no more than nine minutes of playing time. When an athlete is accustomed to starting, dominating and winning championships — as Kalib and Keylan did at Memorial — freshman-season patience can be a challenge.
When OSU coach Mike Boynton gave Kalib Boone more responsibility, he responded. Against Texas Tech last week, Boone scored 16 points in 19 minutes.
On Saturday, before a crowd of better than 10,000, Boone in 17 minutes collected six rebounds and was 4-of-5 on free throws. Against the Red Raiders and Sooners, he was a combined 16-of-19 at the foul line. Nice poise for a rookie.
For the Sooner and Cowboy basketball programs, the 2019-20 season is a less-than-special exercise. On either side of the rivalry, though, there is satisfaction in securing a Bedlam victory.
There is value in the moment, and Kalib Boone — both during and after the game — seemed to be the happiest person in Stillwater.