Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The power went out, and when the lights finally came back on, so did Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys had already watched their first-half lead of 19 points evaporate, but following a 42-minute delay when a power outage plunged the arena into darkness midway through the second half, Oklahoma State took over the game and built an even larger advantage.
In the end, Leyton Hammonds scored 22 points — nine in the first three minutes and another nine after the delay— to help lead Oklahoma State to a 73-55 victory over Longwood Tuesday night.
Hammonds made his first three shots — all 3-pointers — and connected on 11 of 12 free throws, and Joe Burton added 13 points, as the Cowboys (7-3) won their second in a row after two straight losses.
"I've been a part of games before where there's been certain breaks and usually one team comes out raring to go and the other team doesn't, and that's kind of what happened," said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. "I'm proud of how we finished strong, which we needed to see. We've finished two games now very strong, which we hadn't been finishing very well."
Leron Fisher scored 18 points to lead the Lancers (3-8), who lost their fourth straight. Khris Lane contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Oklahoma State led 36-21 with 2:39 left in the first half, but Longwood stunned the Cowboys with a 14-1 run to pull to within 37-35 with 3:33 elapsed in the second half following back-to-back 3-pointers by Fisher.
"As you see a lot, when you get that big a lead, rather than continuing to keep your foot on the pedal, we let up a lot and they just kind of creeped back in," Ford said. "We started just settling for jump shots rather than getting the ball inside, and turnovers were kind of our demise a little bit, in terms of allowing them back in the game."
OSU responded with a 10-2 run of its own, with Burton scoring eight points over that four-minute span, to push its lead back to double digits, 47-37, with 12:36 remaining. The Lancers made it 47-39 on Lotanna Nwogbo's basket ... and then the lights went out.
"You've got to keep your team focused on what's happening in the game and what needs to be done," Ford said of his plan during the delay. "Don't let your mind start wandering, don't be thinking about the lights, don't be goofing off, stay focused. So I tried to gather the guys every two or three minutes and bring them to me, and then keep them loose, then bring them back to me. That's all you can really do."
Following the break, the Cowboys used a 19-4 run to push their advantage to 66-43 when Hammonds hit his fifth consecutive free throw with 3:37 remaining.
"We were just moving around in the dark so we could come out strong, because honestly, that was going to decide the game, which team came out strong after the lights went off," Hammonds said of the delay. "I feel like we came out strong on defense, and that helped us."
Oklahoma State immediately charged out to a huge game-opening lead, as Hammonds hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the first three minutes. Jeffrey Carroll scored the next six points and Longwood missed its first four shots, as the Cowboys led 15-0 after 4:13. OSU continued to roll, building its advantage to 22-3 on Burton's layup with 13:09 left in the opening half.
Longwood: Kanayo Obi-Rapu started the game ranked fourth in the nation with a .500 3-point shooting percentage (34-for-68), and 10th in 3s made, but missed all three of his attempts from 3-point range. It was the first time in 11 games this season that Obi-Rapu, who finished with just two points, failed to hit a 3.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys entered the day leading the Big 12 and ranking 11th in the nation with a free-throw percentage of 77.2 percent, but made just three of its first eight free throws through the first 17 minutes of the first half. Overall on the night, thanks in part to Hammonds going 11-for-12, the Cowboys shot 19-26 (73 percent).
Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans was in the middle of shooting when the entire arena went dark after the main power breaker went out. The backup lights and the center-hung scoreboard came back on several moments later, but after seven minutes, while the building crew scrambled to get the main lights back on, the arena went completely dark again for another three minutes before power was restored. Overall, it was 37 minutes before the main lights were all back on, and 42 before the game resumed.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"They were talking about cancelling the game. There was that talk, if it kept happening. I was trying to debate, 'We are up eight with 11 minutes left, will we get the win?' 'Nope.' 'Okay, then let's finish it.' Somebody did suggest going to the back gym to finish it. It's not an easy situation for anybody." OSU coach Travis Ford regarding the power outage.
Longwood next travels to face George Mason on Saturday.
Oklahoma State plays Florida on Saturday in the "Orange Bowl Classic" in Sunrise, Fla.