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Cade Cunningham’s 40-Point Double-Double Willed Oklahoma State To A Win Over Oklahoma

Cade Cunningham, he true freshman phenom for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, is almost universally viewed as the inevitable No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, should he opt to declare. Cunningham is the type of player who turns Oklahoma State games into must-watch affairs, and on Saturday afternoon against his school’s biggest rival, Cunningham put forth a masterful performance in an overtime win.

The unranked Pokes traveled to Norman to take on the seventh-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a Bedlam game that no one in Stillwater will forget any time soon. Cunningham had the best outing of his collegiate career, doing whatever it took for the Cowboys to knock off their rivals, 94-90.

Cunningham was easily the best player on the floor, scoring 40 points on 12-for-21 shooting with a 3-for-8 clip from behind the arc. He lived at the free throw line, connecting on 13 of his 14 attempts from the charity stripe, and could not be stopped from inhaling rebounds whenever there was a miss, pulling in a game-high 11. Both the scoring and rebounding outputs were the best marks of his collegiate careers. His court vision and ability to set up his teammates, two of the most impressive skills in his bag, were not as necessary — he had one assist, tied for the fewest he’s had in a game for Oklahoma State — due to the fact that he took over as a scorer.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this performance was how reliable Cunningham was. Whenever the Pokes needed anything — a big basket, a defensive stop, a hustle play, anything — the Texas native responded, doing the sorts of things that are necessary to get a team over the finish line. The composure and ability to rise to the moment he put on display was more reminiscent of an NBA veteran, not a 19-year-old college freshman.

These sorts of performances oftentimes get framed in the context of what it means for a player’s NBA Draft prospects. The thing with Cunningham, though, is that his status atop the 2021 Draft (which, again, is dependent on his declaring at the end of this season) is essentially unquestioned barring a serious injury, so there’s really no need to do anything other than appreciate how good he is at basketball. And the best news of all? If you missed out on the chance to take in the Cade Cunningham experience against Oklahoma on Saturday, have no fear, because the next Bedlam game is on Monday, March 1 in Stillwater.

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