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Five Thoughts on OSU Basketball’s Exhibition Win against the Cape Verde National Team

The Cowboys looked good against a FIBA World Cup qualifier.



Oklahoma State Athletics

Earlier this year, Cape Verde became the smallest nation to qualify for the FIBA World Cup. Tuesday, Cape Verde lost to Oklahoma State in an exhibition game.

It’s tough to make many sweeping statements from Oklahoma State’s 86-79 victory against Cape Verde. For starters, it was an exhibition game. It was also played in August in Madrid, Spain, and it was this group of Cowboys’ first public showing.

The games on OSU’s Spanish exhibition tour aren’t streamed, but they are available after the fact via OSU Max. I sat down Wednesday morning and watched Tuesday’s game. There isn’t an official box score, so I kept my own unofficial stats. Here are five things I came away with.

1. Slithery Quion Williams Grinds Away

Quion Williams didn’t do anything overly flashy to get to his team-high 19 points — he just worked.

For those who aren’t familiar with the NBA 2K video games, there is a badge you can get your player called Slithery Finisher, which increases a player’s ability to slide through traffic. Williams had that badge equipped Tuesday. Oftentimes, Williams would slash toward a group of players in the paint just to somehow pop out of the other side unscathed with a clean look at the rim.

I had Williams at 8-for-13 from the field while also bringing down six rebounds and dishing two assists. Like I said, it wasn’t an overly sexy performance, but his ability to grind out 18 points against a team of grown men will certainly get the job done.

2. Connor Dow Is the Truth

Mike Boynton talked up Connor Dow last week, and it’s easy to see why Tuesday.

Dow did all you could ask of him against Cape Verde, scoring 14 points while going 4-for-6 from 3-point range, but it was his defense that really stood out.

I had Dow down for four steals, including one early that turned into him pulling up and hitting a transition 3 shortly after. Boynton said last week Dow was a better defender than people would assume, and Dow’s first public display with the Cowboys certainly backed that up.

3. Small’s Playmaking Ability Evident

I must be nicer than the official scorekeeper when it comes to assists because I had East Carolina transfer Javon Small at six assists in the game, but OSU’s official release had him at four.

Regardless of the number, he did some things Tuesday that OSU hasn’t had in a while. He constantly got people the ball in advantageous positions.

One of his better assists came in the first half when working a pick-and-roll with Brandon Garrison. Garrison’s tall defender helped off, and instead of panicking, Small cooly pivoted, stepped through and dropped a pass over a trailing defender’s head for an easy bucket.

A few minutes later, Small was working on the right wing. When he felt the defense shift just a hair too much to that side, he popped up and ripped a cross-court pass to Bryce Thompson in the corner for an open look.

Time after time Small just kept making the right play with the ball. He didn’t shoot a ton, finishing with seven points, but his fingerprints were all over the Cowboys’ offense.

4. Assist Numbers 👀

Like I said, I kept unofficial stats that might’ve been a little lenient on assists, so take this with a grain of salt, but I had the Cowboys at 21 assists for the game. For reference, OSU averaged 12.6 assists a game last season and eclipsed the 20-assist mark just two times.

Small led the way in my unofficial stats with six, but I also had Jamyron Keller at four, John-Michael Wright at three, Eric Dailey Jr. at three and Williams with two.

OSU needs to be better offensively in 2023-24 than it was in 2022-23. How much can you take from a game in August in Spain against the Cape Verde national team? I don’t know, but it’s better to have those type of numbers than to not.

5. The Bigs Got Bullied, but That’s OK

Garrison and Isaiah Miranda didn’t have great days in the paint, but they were going up against a 31-year-old man who played in the NBA. So, context matters.

Walter “Edy” Tavares is 7-foot-3, 275 pounds and took it to the Garrison-Miranda tandem for much of the day, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

OSU was without Mike Marsh, who at 6-10, 250 pounds might have stood more of a chance. Boynton said last week Marsh is working his way back from a minor shoulder injury.

Regardless, the Cowboys are unproven in the frontcourt, but going against that type of competition could only be good for Garrison and Miranda. Freshman forward Justin McBride also worked some at center, and he didn’t look totally out of place. That can be good not only for depth, but it also gives the Pokes the ability to play some small ball and spread out the floor with Small running the show.

OSU Scoring against Cape Verde

Quion Williams — 19
Connor Dow — 14
Justin McBride — 14
Eric Dailey Jr. — 12
Javon Small — 7
Jarius Hicklen — 6
Bryce Thompson — 5
Brandon Garrison — 4
Isaiah Miranda — 4
John-Michael Wright — 1

Spain Exhibition Tour Itinerary

Aug. 5 – Depart Stillwater; Overnight flight to Madrid
Aug. 6 – City tour; Visit to Las Arenas Bullring
Aug. 7 – Bull ranch and skills demonstration; Gaucho barbeque
Aug. 8 – Bus to Toledo; Game No. 1
Aug. 9 – Train ride to Valencia; Traditional Paella lunch
Aug. 10 – Game No. 2
Aug. 11 – Fun in Valencia
Aug. 12 – Catamaran cruise; Bus to Barcelona
Aug. 13 – Explore Olympic venues on Montijuic Hill; Game No. 3
Aug. 14 – FC Barcelona stadium tour; Beach time at Costa Brava; Farewell dinner
Aug. 15 – Return to Stillwater

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