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5 Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 83-65 Win Over Charlotte




Oklahoma State lit up Charlotte on Monday in Stillwater 83-65 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close for most of the second half. Brandon Averette killed a man, five players tallied double figures, Oklahoma State got 41 points from its bench and Mike Boynton got win No. 2 on the season.

It was a much better showing for the Pokes on Monday than last Friday against Pepperdine, even if the box score doesn’t show it. Let’s dive into five quick thoughts.

1. All the rotations

Mike Boynton, not afraid to sub players in and out. Two games so far this year have featured more rotations than a tilt-a-whirl, and I think it might be keeping guys fresh on the defensive end.

OSU showed a ton of movement defensively against a halfway decent offensive squad on Monday in GIA. Does effort = Ws in the Big 12? No, but you have to have a base, and I’m fine if this team’s is in-your-shorts play on the defensive end.

They faded a little late because the game was out of hand, but the first half stats were outstanding. Charlotte shot 6 for 23 from the field and turned it over nine times in the first 20 minutes. There’s not a ton of risk defensively, either, it doesn’t seem like. We’ll see how they perform against Texas A&M a week from tonight, but the energy is certainly there.

“Our effort,” said Boynton when asked at halftime how OSU was able to limit Charlotte to 26 points. “We’re committed to that end of the floor. This is a really good offensive team. I’m really proud of our guys for how they committed to defense today.”

2. Kendall Smith is a Disruptor

I mention this below, but I’m not sure the “I’m just better than you and I’m going to drive past you, sorry not sorry” routine is going to work on Texas and Baylor, but it’s fun to watch against Charlotte.

Bryndon Manzer mentioned this on the broadcast, but pairing Averette at the 1 with Smith at the 2 is a fun offensive wrinkle Boynton can roll out there because Smith is pretty good off the ball.

Smith had 19 on 8 for 13 shooting to go with 6 boards and 3 assists in just 23 minutes.

“It was staying consistent,” he told Fox Sports after the game. “The first two games I was struggling a little bit. I stayed confident. My dad told me it was going to fall, and it fell tonight.”

3. Fast break points still lacking

The Cowboys tried to push the ball a tad more than against Pepperdine, but I’m still a little worried about all the self-creating they have to do in the half court. A lot of it was Kendall Smith just out-athleting his man or Tavarius Shine out-heighting the guy guarding him.

OSU also still doesn’t seem like it wants to giddy up and run. If they’re going to be a defensive unit that goes for steals and plays aggressively (and I think they are), then you’d like to see them roll in transition a little bit more. They’ve had just 16 fast break points through the first two games.

Mike Boynton agrees.

“I wish we could get out and run and get some more easy baskets,” he said at halftime. “Our offense is stagnant, but we move the ball really well as a team. Guys aren’t selfish, if a guy’s open they pass it to him.”

4. Spacing and movement on Offense

I’m not in love with how reliant OSU seems to be on the half court stuff offensively, however they actually pass and move pretty well out of it. The spacing seems much better than, say, when Travis Ford was coach. And they make a lot of extra passes.

That has shown up in the box score, too. Through two games, OSU has 36 assists which is its highest total through two games since 2014 and one of the highest in the last eight years.

Year Assists through 2 games
2011 22
2012 21
2013 22
2014 41
2015 26
2016 24
2017 30
2018 36

Xs and Os guru Thomas Fleming confirmed the spacing and movement to me. He noted that Boynton “has a counter to every call. Travis didn’t really have that. Also set plays branch out,” which you can see that in that three Shine hits above.

5. Little things Lindy

Not sure if anyone knows this, but I’m a big Lindy Waters fan. Yes, he does the big things well. He scores, he sees the floor and he can shoot. But it’s little stuff that I’m enamored with.

Watch him catch a transition pass here and fling it primarily with his left hand. He knows if he switches to his right, he’ll lose the split second Dizzy needs to get his shot off so he goes off hand and puts it right where Dizzy can get his wings tattoos in the air and take flight.

We’ll see how the next week or so goes, but these first two games have been everything you can ask for from this roster with a new coach missing its best player in the first week of the season.

More Notes from the game

• Mark Price is the coach of Charlotte? And he has a son in college and on the team? How old are we?!

• Don’t like Kendall Smith’s long 2s. But I like them better than Mitchell Solomon long 2s.

• I enjoyed the half court trapping on defense.

• OSU had a 5-point possession. Gundy is going to try and figure out how to implement that at some point.

• Dizzy might be Steph Curry against bad teams and Seth Curry against good ones. He took nine FGs. He also took nine 3s. The definition of staying in your lane. Shooters gonna shoot forever.

• The cut of new unis is so much better. Also, I love the teal. Come at me.

• I love when Averette gets into the lane. It seems so easy for him, and he seems to be more in control in there than last year.

• Zack Dawson looks a little lost. To be expected for a freshman.

• Cam McGriff is going to be a problem in the same way Calving Bundage is a problem. Unfortunately for OSU, he’s really the only interior presence they have other than Mitch Solomon right now. They might get eaten alive against legit bigs.

• Kendall Smith is elite at going from rebound —> transition in a hurry.

• OSU has given up 112 points in its last two basketball games. It has given up 104 points in its last two football games.

• No cereal?

• There is no number of people McGriff won’t try to dunk on.

• Why does N’Guessan’s name have a space? Is it supposed to be N’ Guessan?

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• Anybody ever seen Mark Price and Scott Verplank in the same room?

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• Boynton is the best-dressed coach in OSU history. I’m not sure it’s even close.