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Eric Dailey’s Numbers Trending Up Since Move to Bench

Dailey’s points, assists and rebounds are up since his move out of the starting lineup.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — To no fault of his own, Eric Dailey Jr. was taken out of the Cowboys’ starting lineup ahead of their Jan. 20 game against Kansas State, but since that move, his impact on the team has been more prevalent.

Dailey went from role player among starters to a primary scorer for Oklahoma State’s second unit. In the four Big 12 games he started, Dailey was averaging nine points a game. Since his move to the bench, he averages 12. When he subs in, he has searched for his shot more, taking nine shots a game off the bench compared to 6.5 in the starting lineup. His rebounds and assists have also gone up since the move. It also resulted in OSU’s first conference win when they bested West Virginia on Saturday.

“I’m cool with it,” Dailey said. “Being a starter, it’s cool, but doing the right things for your team is even better. Coach need me to come off the bench and be that sparkplug, that’s what I’ve been doing for the most part.

“I ain’t got no problem with it. Whatever we gotta do to get the win is what we gotta do, so it’s all good.”

OSU coach Mike Boynton wasn’t getting a ton of production from his bench. Entering that game against K-State, the Cowboys’ bench was scoring just 25.9% of the team’s points in league play. The bench’s struggles were most evident in OSU’s Big 12 opener, where the Cowboys got six of their 70 points from the bench.

Since the lineup went from Javon Small, Bryce Thompson, Quion Williams, Dailey and Brandon Garrison to Small, John-Michael Wright, Thompson, Connor Dow and Garrison, the Cowboys’ bench has provided 32.7% of their points. In four games with the old lineup, the bench totaled 65 points. In three games with the new lineup, the bench already has 67.

A 6-foot-8, 230-pound freshman, Dailey has the frame and skill to do a lot. He is confident in his ability to score, evident by the fact that he ranks third on the team in field-goal attempts behind only Small and Thompson. With his size, he can play in the post — primarily as a power forward, but he has also relieved Garrison some as a small-ball center as of late. And he has the skills to work off the bounce and provide for other teammates, as he ranks third on the team in assists behind Small and Williams, and Dailey’s 1.58 turnover-to-assist ratio is second-best on the team behind Small.

In the starting lineup, Dailey reached double figures one time in four Big 12 games. Off the bench, he has two double-digit outings.

With Garrison and Small being the star of the show Saturday against West Virginia, Dailey’s solid performance somewhat flew under the radar. He finished with eight points, four boards and two assists and was tied with Garrison for a team-best plus-nine in plus/minus, meaning the Cowboys were nine points better than the Mountaineers when Dailey was on the floor.

His two assists against West Virginia also came in clutch moments.

With OSU trailing 61-56 with about four minutes to go, Dailey hustled down an offensive rebound and kicked out to Wright for a 3 to pull the Pokes back into things. Moments later Dailey had the ball on a fastbreak when he ripped a cross-court pass to Thompson for a 3 to give the Cowboys a lead.

For now, Dailey doesn’t have the pleasure of Larry Reece’s bravado announcing his name ahead of the tip, but without a doubt, Dailey’s impact has been prevalent in his new role.

“When he was starting, we were getting pretty much all of our offensive production from the starting group,” Boynton said. “You need some balance. He gives us that. We know he can score. He’s a guy who is gonna come in, and I don’t know if it’s eight or 18, but he’s gonna get some baskets. But he’s a threat to score.

“And in particular playing him as a [center], which we’ve done a lot more here in the last three games, he gives you a little bit of a mismatch because [centers] naturally aren’t used to coming out and playing on the perimeter, where he can drive and make passes. Having that element coming off the bench is a big boost to us.”

Dailey in Starting Lineup vs. Bench

PPG RPG APG FG FGA FG%
Starting Lineup 9 3 0.3 3.8 6.5 58%
Bench 12 3.7 1.7 5 9 56%

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