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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 76-70 Victory against Wofford

On Thompson’s hot streak, 3-point shooting and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Cowboys will head into the winter break on a win.

Oklahoma State beat Wofford 76-70 on Wednesday afternoon in Gallagher-Iba Arena. It’s the Cowboys’ third straight win, but this one didn’t come easy.

OSU raced out to a 13-point lead before the Terriers stormed back and momentarily took a lead early in the second half. From there the Cowboys did enough to stave off Wofford and get the win. Here are five thoughts from the game.

1. Thompson Stays Hot

If Bryce Thompson started to get his mojo back Sunday against Oral Roberts, he had his pinky to the side of his mouth like Dr. Evil on Thursday.

Thompson led the Pokes with 19 points, going 5-for-7 from 3-point range. He hit his first three 3s with the last of that bunch being a gnarly contested step-back.

And it wasn’t just Thompson’s scoring. He was a game-best +13, meaning the Cowboys were 13 points better than Wofford when Thompson was on the floor. He also had four rebounds, three assists and a trio of steals. One of those steals led directly to a double-pump dunk.

The most befuddling part of Thompson’s game is his foul shooting, as he entered Wednesday making just 46% of his foul shots on the season. But he had to go to the line in the final moments defending a 4-point lead, and he knocked down his pair.

2. Quion Williams Is Like Mike Rowe

You got a dirty job you need done? Call Mike Rowe Quion Williams.

Williams won’t initially jump off the box score, as he finished with only five points, but he led the Cowboys with seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals in a game-high 35 minutes.

Anything the Cowboys need of Williams he does it. He leads the team in season minutes with 337 on the year. Javon Small is the next closest with 312, more than a half of basketball behind Williams.

Williams did have a team-high five turnovers. Mike Boynton called Williams’ game a microcosm of the game itself — more good than bad, but far from perfect.

3. Why 3-Point Shooting Is Important

Both teams took 61 shots in this game. OSU made 28. Wofford made 30.

So, how did OSU win by six? Better 3-point shooting. The Cowboys were 15-for-33 from deep to the Terriers’ 6-for-21. In recent seasons OSU has been on the other end of that, but this is modern basketball. For those unaware, 3s are worth more than 2s, so the team who hits more 3s is more often than not going to win the game.

Thompson supplied five, and Small added another four. Jarius Hicklen also had a solid outing off the OSU bench, going 3-for-3 from deep. Williams, Eric Dailey Jr. and Connor Dow each hit one, as well.

It’s the Cowboys’ fifth game this season with at least 10 made 3s. They have only six of those games all of last season and none during the 2021-22 season.

“I think it’s evolution a little bit,” Boynton said. “We’ve talked about that, having to adjust. I’ve always been pretty defensive-minded and grind and be athletic and be able to get downhill and make plays. But you can’t defy what’s happening. Gotta evolve with the game. We have.”

4. Solid Minutes from Dow, McBride

Connor Dow played 12 minutes Wednesday, the most he has played in about a month.

Dow had three points and a rebound, spending some time in the floor with the starting group. Boynton said Dow earned the minutes in practice as of late.

“He’s getting better defensively,” Boynton said. “That’s where, I think, his biggest area of growth has been. His feel for how to space the floor, when to cut and being ready to shoot offensively was always there. I told him, teams are gonna look out there and think they can attack you. May be unfair or prejudice or whatever, but that’s just the reality of basketball, so deal with it. You’re a good enough defender to learn how to be in the right positions. He’s embraced that over the last few weeks. He’s had a really good attitude about it.

“Really proud that he’s impacting our game. Obviously he was playing behind some older guys early, and I think he’s worked his way up the depth chart some.”

McBride played a five-minute stretch at center early in the second half that seemed to stabilize things for the Cowboys. He came onto the floor when Wofford took a 39-37 lead, and when he went back to the bench, OSU was up 48-45.

5. Resetting Heading into the Break

Don’t look now, but the Cowboys are above .500 for the first time this season at 6-5. It’s also the Pokes’ first three-game winning streak of the year.

Given OSU’s standing as a high-major school and its schedule to this point, it has undeniably been a rough start to the season, but there are glimmers of things getting better.

For starters, the offense is flowing much better now than it did at the beginning of the year. Shoot, it’s flowing much better now than it has in some time in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

And though Wednesday’s game was closer than some would have wanted it to be, it was a step forward in that the Cowboys didn’t lose it. OSU hasn’t been good in close games this year. The Pokes entered Wednesday 0-4 in games decided by six or fewer points.

Is this team good enough to go on some sort of magical run and make the NCAA Tournament? That probably still feels unlikely at this point, but let’s give it another month and see how much farther the Cowboys have gone.

Mike Boynton’s Postgame News Conference

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