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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 95-53 Exhibition Win against Oklahoma Baptist

Four freshmen combined for 55 points.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Cowboys shouldn’t have trouble in exhibition games, and they certainly didn’t Wednesday night.

Oklahoma State took care of Oklahoma Baptist 95-53 in Gallagher-Iba Arena. OSU officially opens its season at 8 p.m. Monday with a game against Abilene Christian.

The Pokes controlled OBU from start to finish Wednesday, so let’s get straight to the thoughts.

1. Fill It Up Freshmen

The Cowboys’ four leading scorers against the Bison were true freshmen.

Justin McBride, Eric Dailey, Brandon Garrison and Connor Dow combined for 55 points. And that was without fellow true freshman Jamyron Keller and redshirt freshman Isaiah Miranda. Keller was out with a wrist injury while Miranda picked up a knock a minute into being on the floor. Mike Boynton said had this been Monday and the game counted, Miranda would’ve kept playing.

But that quartet of freshmen lived up to the billing of a Top 10 recruiting class in their first unofficial 40 minutes at the college level.

Dow was 3-for-4 from 3 and showed off his athleticism with a steal and slam.

Garrison had an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double, but his most impactful stat was his five blocks.

As for the other two …

2. Dailey, McBride Give This Team Some Versatility

Dailey and McBride combined for 33 points on 80% shooting, but their versatility perhaps stood out more than their scoring abilities.

There was a lineup on the floor that saw 6-foot-11 Garrison, 6-8 Dailey and 6-8 McBride all on the floor at once. Dailey can legitimately play point guard through power forward, and McBride’s length allowed him to log some minutes at center.

McBride had a game-high 19 points. His first 16 came with either dunks or layups before he hit a 3 in the closing stages of the game.

Dailey scored 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. He also had seven rebounds and a gnarly no-look assist to Bryce Thompson for a dunk.

It feels like those two are chameleons that could fit into any lineup Boynton throws out there this season, which is something OSU has lacked in recent years.

“Eric and Justin, in many regards, are like the guy we’ve been missing,” Boynton said. “The guy that everybody in our league has had from a skilled forward spot. Think about [Texas Tech’s] Kevin Obanor or [West Virginia’s/Baylor’s] Jalen Bridges or [Oklahoma’s] Jalen Hill — everybody in the league has got somebody at the four spot almost in particular, [Kansas State’s] Keyonte Johnson, that can post up, can make a 3, can rebound and push, can be a defensive matchup challenge. We haven’t had that, not in a consistent manner.

“Those guys both, and Eric in particular, bring a level of versatility at the four that we really haven’t had since we were moving Cade (Cunningham) everywhere around the court three years ago.”

3. 3-Point Shooting Tracker

Three-point shooting has been a glaring issue of recent OSU teams. Wednesday showed the potential this team has but wasn’t a lights out performance OSU fans might’ve been hoping for.

The Cowboys finished 8-for-25 (32%) from deep. That’s not an elite percentage by any means (OSU shot 31% as a team last year). But that was with Jarius Hicklen going 1-for-7 from deep against his former team. I wouldn’t expect that to happen all that often. In two seasons at North Florida, Hicklen shot 38% from deep.

Bryce Thompson was also 0-for-3 after hitting 37% of his 3s last season. So, if percentages hold and Thompson and Hicklen go like 3-for-10 instead of 1-for-10, boom the Pokes are at 40%.

Dow was far and away the bright spot, going 3-for-4. He hit a fourth but was whistled for stepping out of bounds as he stepped into his shot.

With Dow, Hicklen, Thompson and John Michael Wright, the Pokes have options, which should lead to better 3-point shooting this year — should.

“Obviously you want to make them, but did we take the right ones? Are the right guys taking them?” Boynton said. “I thought [Hicklen] and John Michael got good looks — tonight they didn’t go down. If [Hicklen] gets those same seven shots on Monday, I want him to take them all. I think he may make four or five of them.”

4. Mike Marsh Is That Guy at the Y

Mike Marsh is that guy at the YMCA who isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, but he knows how to use his body and get buckets.

In just 15 minutes on the floor, Marsh had 10 points, eight boards, two assists and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.

Despite the high ceilings of a Garrison and Miranda, Boynton started Marsh at center, saying he wanted one of the young pups to supplant the guy who has grinded his way from junior college to mid-major and now to high-major hoops. At first, I didn’t totally understand that, but after watching Marsh play, I got it.

He is 6-foot-10, 250 pounds — a body type similar to Bernard Kouma, but he is more skilled. It’s almost methodical watching him post up, get to his spot and heave up a hook shot.

“He’s got a plan,” Boynton said. “This is my favorite saying about vets: Mike ain’t guessing. He knows what he wants to do. Whether it works or not is something else, but he has a plan. Our young guys are guessing all the time. They’re just trying stuff. They’re hoping it works.

“… Mike knows what he wants to do. He’s going to get to a spot. He’s going to play with great force, and he’s gonna play with some physicality.”

5. What Will Small Bring?

The Cowboys should’ve throttled OBU on Wednesday night, and they did. But it felt like only an appetizer as we await the OSU debut of Javon Small.

A transfer from East Carolina, Small will be this group’s point guard. He missed half of last season at ECU with a knee injury and sat out Wednesday’s game with some “maintenance” on that knee. Boynton hasn’t counted Small out for Monday’s season-opener against Abilene Christian. He went through shootaround Wednesday.

With Small and Keller (also a point guard) sidelined, that forced OSU to get a little creative at the point with Wright, Thompson, walk-on Naz Brown and even Dailey chipping in. Thompson couldn’t seem to get in a groove, finishing with 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting. But Small was brought in to essentially unlock Thompson and allow the Tulsa hooper to man a more scoring guard role.

So, it feels as if OSU has taken steps forward in regards to shooting, the freshmen looked about as comfortable as freshmen could and Marsh stood out down low. I’m interested to see how Small ties this all together.

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