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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 102-83 Win Over UT-Rio Grande Valley




Oklahoma State destroyed UT-Rio Grande Valley on Friday 102-83 afternoon behind 22 points from Jeffrey Carroll and 18 more from Kendall Smith. Mitchell Solomon chipped in 11 points 8 rebounds and 3 assists as well, and the Pokes held UTRGV to just 22 percent shooting from 3-point range on the day.

The win touches off a 10-2 pre-Big 12 run for Mike Boynton and Co. with their only two losses coming to top 10 teams in Texas A&M and Wichita State.

The last of those 10 wins on Friday was maybe the easiest of the bunch, even though the Cowboys started slowly in the first half. A monstrous offensive close to end the first half pumped a little momentum into the orange and black side, and the reserves cruised home against the No. KenPom No. 258 team in the country.

Five thoughts, let’s go.

1. Multiple Ways to Beat a Defense

UTRGV played a lot of zone but at times switched to man as well. OSU beat them every way possible. On dribble drives, on backdoor cuts (the spread motion has life!) and on deep, dizzying threes.

Does UTRGV have a top 240 defense? No it does not, but it’s still good to see the OSU offensive arsenal evolve at they hurtle towards conference play. This was not at all what they looked like over the first few games against equally poor opponents.

2. Lindy at the point?

Lindy Waters played a little point on Friday, which was pretty intriguing. I don’t want it all the time, but it gives OSU some versatility and a ton of scoring offensively. You can feasibly roll out Waters, Dizzy, Carroll, Shine and Crime Dog at the same time, which would easily be your best shooting five (and fun as hell to watch).

On that note Waters went 2-for-3 from deep and earned an. “I think Waters has got to continue to take shots” from Bryndon Manzer. I do too, Bryndon.

3. This Play

One of my thoughts is just this play. That’s it. It was awesome. It was astonishingly athletic on multiple fronts, and it represented everything OSU could be on defense and offense.

It seems like a good time to mention that Carroll and Smith combined to shoot 15-for-23 from the field en route to their 40 combined points.

“Finally just playing my game,” said Carroll after the game, “finding my rhythm and taking the right shots that I take normally.”

Like … fast break dunks.

4. Second string time

OSU used the back half of the game to get players like Lucas N’Guessan and Yankuba Sima playing time (even at the same time, which was interesting) as well as employ a zone, work on a press break and and get Trey Reeves some shots. These are all good things (well maybe not Reeves pulling from deep) heading into January where they’ll see the heat ratcheted up in myriad ways.

5. 3-pointers tell stories

Maybe this is intuitive, maybe I’m a moron, maybe this is how all college basketball teams function but Oklahoma State’s ability to score is directly tied to its efficiency from beyond the arc. However, on Friday the Cowboys put up 102 points on 32 shooting from 3-point range, which means we now have this 2017-18 chart.

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The reason I noticed this game is because it, along with Pitt, was actually the outlier. One of the few times they were able to score without shooting it particularly well from deep (the UTRGV dot is top-middle).

I don’t know if I feel good or terrible about this going into Big 12 play. I feel good about it because OSU has some real shooters (Carroll, Dizzy and Waters), and I feel bad about it because it seems their team’s chance at making noise in the conference is inextricably tied to an area of the game that it hasn’t showed a ton of propensity for against good teams. We’ll know for real next Friday when West Virginia comes to town.

Other Notes

• UTRGV lost by just 18 to Texas A&M. I thought that was pretty interesting.

• The Holiday family looks extremely pleased to be watching a 30-point blowout!

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• Tavarius Shine had multiple blocks on Friday and talked loads of trash after each of them. I was amused.

• Sima might have some offense. In any event his little running jump hook makes him look 39 feet tall.

• Dizzy was 1-for-7 from deep. Get ’em all out of your system, my man!

• Carroll passed Desmond Mason and Glendon Alexander on the all-time 3-pointers made list with the 132nd of his career.

• Today was just the 51st time in OSU history that the Pokes have scored 100+ points.

• Again, Merry Christmas to all.

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