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Beard looking for more aggressiveness, more free throws as Texas travels to Oklahoma State

Beard on OSU: ‘They’re obviously kind of in tough circumstances here with the postseason, but you could never tell it’

Hookem
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton stands with Bryce Williams, left, and Isaac Likekele after losing to Wichita State on Dec. 1 in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys are in a rough stretch of scheduling, having to face Houston, Kansas and now Texas.

Saturday’s game

1 p.m., Gallagher-Iba Arena (capacity 13,611)

TV/radio: CBS/104.9

About the series: Texas leads 54-46. It’s been back and forth recently, but Texas captured a 91-86 win in the Big 12 Tournament championship game last season. UT has a 9-8 series lead since the start of the 2013-14 season.

About the Longhorns: Texas isn’t the biggest team in the Big 12. But the Horns can make up for size mismatches with aggressiveness. UT is the best free-throw shooting team in the Big 12, hitting 77.4% of its shots. But the Horns are sixth in free-throw attempts. “Our team is a work in progress. We’ll just continue to work on that,” Beard said. “But I agree we need to be aggressive enough to get to the free-throw line more.” ... The way Beard praised Mitchell after Tuesday’s win at Kansas State, the guards might feed him early and often. Beard has stood up for players who are team-first even if they aren’t necessarily generating statistics. ... After two conference games, Texas now has a sizable national lead in scoring defense. UT has allowed a Division I-best 52.3 points per game. North Texas is second at 54 points per game.

About the Cowboys: The NCAA punished Oklahoma State earlier this season with a postseason tournament ban that was widely ridiculed. Still, Beard has high respect for Boynton’s club and considers Gallagher-Iba Arena one of the best venues in the Big 12. “They’re obviously kind of in tough circumstances here with the postseason, but you could never tell it. They’re playing hard,” Beard said. “They’ve got great joy and spirit.” ... OSU is stuck in a difficult three-game stretch, having lost to then-No. 14 Houston and No. 6 Kansas and now facing No. 14 Texas. OSU’s Big 12 opener against Texas Tech was postponed. The Cowboys held the Jayhawks scoreless for almost 10 minutes but never got closer than six points down the stretch. After Saturday, OSU has three straight road games — West Virginia, Texas Tech and Baylor. 

ContactBrian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.