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Five Thoughts on OSU’s 80-75 Victory against Oral Roberts

Five thoughts on a 50-foul game.




STILLWATER — What a wacky way to start the year.

The Oklahoma State basketball team beat Oral Roberts 80-75 on Wednesday night, as the Cowboys start the season 1-0. In the second half it seemed as if the clock was stopped more than it was running. We’ll get to that later. Here are five thoughts.

1. The Thompson Entrance

Since OSU was able to hold on and win, this was the most significant happening from Wednesday night.

Tactically or otherwise, five-star recruit Bryce Thompson arrived fashionably late to GIA, which forced him to walk the entire north baseline during a timeout to find his seat. The student section lost its collective mind. Students in the northwest corner of the arena made signs and painted dominoes on their bodies, claiming Thompson was the next to fall after Cade Cunningham’s commitment Tuesday night.

Thompson had fun with it, too. The game was ugly as can be, but Thompson stood up to pander to the crowd as the students chanted, “We want Bryce!”

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“It’s been three years for me, guys,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said postgame. “It’s good to see that it’s turning. We started this thing very, kinda, cautiously optimistic. There wasn’t a whole lot of high expectations that we could do anything positive here.

“The fanbase was very skeptical, to say the least, about the prospects about what this program will look like under our leadership. But to see after two and a half, going on three years of just putting our heads down and going to work, it certainly feels good to start seeing some of those things that you envisioned come to light.”

2. November Basketball

There were 50 total fouls Wednesday night. FIFTY.

I’m not sure I’ve seen three officials have a bigger impact on a college basketball game. They weren’t favoring one side or the other, they just seemed to not favor fluid basketball.

A consequence of that was a rough offensive night for the Cowboys, as they shot 38.7 percent from the field. OSU has been at its best in Boynton’s tenure when the Pokes can get out and run in transition, but the constant stoppages caused for forced offensive set after forced offensive set.

“It kinda put the game at a funky pace,” Boynton said. “There were a lot of stoppages.”

The Cowboys still found a way to win, which isn’t an ideal statement for OSU when Oral Roberts is the opponent, but the Cowboys weren’t exactly playing Cowboy basketball.

OSU won the game from the free-throw line in the final minute, a good building block for the team moving forward. Cam McGriff’s statline was particularly impressive in the mess that was this game. McGriff didn’t make a single field goal, but he scored in double figures because he was 10-for-10 from the foul line.

3. Yor Takeover

Yor Anei had six stuffs in the second half and finished the first game of his sophomore season with eight.

He was only two blocks away from a triple-double thanks to his 13 points and 10 rebounds. Anei had two blocks in the final minute, as he swatted away the Golden Eagles’ upset bid.

“You just look at the stats,” ORU coach Paul Mills said when asked how you gameplan against Anei. “You see he’s Top 5 in the country, and you say, ‘Man.’ There really is no gameplanning for it.”

4. What is this Bench Thing?

In the first 10 minutes, Mike Boynton subbed in six players off his bench.

Last year Mike Boynton looked at his bench and saw only Curtis Jones and Duncan Demuth. He said it was important to get his guys in early so they stayed engaged, but it might have caused a few difficulties in terms of players getting into a rhythm.

“I like to get everybody in in the first half,” Boynton said. “My former player self, if you don’t play in the first half, it’s really hard to stay engaged. Then if you’re needed in the second half, if some situation comes up, you may not be where you need to be mentally. In a game like this, try to get everybody in for a little while in the first half.”

In the second half, Boynton’s starters went longer in than in the first and built a 16-point lead with 16:56 left on the clock before the game turned into a outright foul fest.

5. Interesting Lineups

As he did against Rogers State, Boynton tossed point guards Avery Anderson and Isaac Likekele on the floor together.

It gives an interesting look to opposing defenses with two ballhandlers on the floor. If OSU can land Bryce Thompson’s commitment, there is a chance next year that three ball-handlers start in Likekele, Thompson and Cunningham.

Likekele’s and Anderson’s games are different enough, though. Likekele is a big, 6-foot-4 point guard who plays an older style of game focused more on efficiency than anything else. Anderson is a shifty, smaller point guard. His elite quickness makes everything he does seem flashy.

Likekele said that lineup is still a little unusual for the two because in practice the two are always going against each other, being the only two point guards.

“At the same time, it’s kinda benefiting us because either one of us that get the ball, we can really push it and run the one,” Likekele said. ” It’s just to speed up the game. That’s the intention whenever they put both of us in there, to really speed up the game.”

The craziest lineup of the night came in the second half when it was:

PG – Lindy Waters
SG – Thomas Dziagwa
SF – Keylan Boone
PF – Cam McGriff
C- Yor Anei

It turns out this group was more on the floor by accident. Anderson was just being subbed off the floor when Likekele had to also go to the sideline after bumping knees with someone. Although it wasn’t necessarily intended, it gave an interesting look.

“But it also gives us more size and shooting throughout the lineup because neither Ice or Avery are great shooters,” Boynton said. “When you move Lindy there, now you’ve got somebody who teams definitely have to guard at the perimeter, a ballhandler.”

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  1. Doc Holliday

    November 7 at 1:25 pm

    This team will get a little better as the year goes on but let’s also realize this probably isn’t a tournament team. But given this weeks events let’s just get the ball rolling for next year in which we’ll legitimately be a top 10 team in the country. And as far as the excessive substitution by Boynton I think it would only be an issue if he keeps doing it. I think right now he’s trying to see how some of his young guys can handle it. Side note: Likekele’s inability to shoot the ball from deep is a serious issue that he needs to get better at by next year.

    • Cross

      November 7 at 1:27 pm

      I disagree, in my opinion, this is definitely a team that will be playing in Tourney. I’m not confident they will got Super Far, but I am confident they will make Tourney, Finish Top 5 in Big 12.

  2. CP

    November 7 at 1:25 pm

    Bryce’s phone cover is orange. Coincidence?

  3. Eric

    November 7 at 1:25 pm

    The seniors seemed to be going through the motions. Also they looked soft. I didn’t see them diving on the floor and having that fight and toughness I expect. Thank goodness the Sophomores wanted it and were tough. And the freshmen played hard.

    • VACowboy

      November 7 at 1:26 pm

      Agree with this. They seemed to be a little checked out for sure.

      • Clint

        November 7 at 1:52 pm

        Honestly, I was a little concerned about the mindset of this team – especially the seniors. We’ve been in a Cade Cunningham/Bryce Thompson fog for the last few days. I wonder if these guys kind of feel like, “Hey – what about US!?!?” Hope I’m wrong, but I hope more it’s not an issue.

        • VACowboy

          November 7 at 1:54 pm

          That makes a lot of sense. Poor turnout for the game and the students focusing on Bryce and Cade. Could see how that would make the seniors feel a little disrespected. That said, this is a good team that should make the tournament so hope Boynton is able to rein that in IF that is what is happening.

  4. Tbeezy

    November 7 at 1:25 pm

    I love Lindy Waters game but he’s not a PG.

    With 2 playable PGs on the roster one of Ice or Anderson should always be on the floor.

  5. ChanceDM

    November 7 at 1:26 pm

    How many basketball games are going to be on ESPN+. It kinda stinks for me, but I just pay $45 for Hulu Live; I can’t imagine how frustrating it’d be for someone paying over $100 or $200 for cable.

    • Gundyball

      November 7 at 1:51 pm

      Wait, ESPN+ is included in HuluLive?

    • Tbeezy

      November 7 at 1:27 pm

      They don’t officially say, they just claim some of them will be.

      My guess all these midweek games will be on there and few lesser big 12 games.

      • William George

        November 7 at 1:53 pm

        We’ve got eight games on ESPN+ if you look at the schedule on the website. Including games like Iowa State, Texas, and Georgetown. So some fairly big games, or games that look big on paper.

  6. DeJuanathon

    November 7 at 1:26 pm

    I’ve never thought Waters was a great ball handler. He turns it over a lot when he’s dribbling around.

    • Cowboydroid

      November 7 at 1:54 pm

      He also lead both teams with turnovers last night with 6. He’s not a great ballhandler.

  7. Mrs. Kyle Mayfield

    November 7 at 1:26 pm

    GIA is an embarrassment. I hope we get Bryce, but I understand if last night’s terrible turnout has him still leaning KU who have fans that attend their games. Something has to give, either they lower ticket prices for student or something. But if we want to compete and if the fans want a good product on the floor, we have to have butts in the seats. Last night was embarrassing.

    • 6 @ A TIME

      November 7 at 1:51 pm

      Winning is the only cure.

    • Frank Eaton

      November 7 at 1:55 pm

      Agreed and it makes me sick because I moved back home to Colorado and can’t ‘put my money where my mouth is’ but com’on! What else are these people doing on a Wednesday night in Stillwater, Oklahoma?!

    • jmiller583

      November 7 at 1:52 pm

      I honestly think that OSU is really good-to-great in too many sports. Attendance dollars and time commitment from fans is being pulled too many ways. Kansas doesn’t have that problem.

  8. Matt Schmitz

    November 7 at 1:26 pm

    Defense HAS to get better, on the flip side I understand why Coach wanted the Boone twins so badly. It was also nice to see the continued development of Ice and Yor.

    • VACowboy

      November 7 at 1:54 pm

      Maybe I’m wrong but I felt like our D was pretty good. Protected the rim well and forced turnovers. It seems like it was our offense that was struggling. Maybe because of all the stoppage of play and excessive substitution by Boynton.

  9. Garrett Winters

    November 7 at 1:27 pm

    I know I may get some flack for this but having Anderson on the court opened up lanes for the offense. When Ice is on the court the defense doesn’t respect his ability to shoot and packs the lane. This causes us to throw up a lot of forced shots from the outside not allowing our offense to flow. Ice’s stats look great but the dude has to develop a shot or our offense will continue to struggle.

    • Doc Holliday

      November 7 at 1:53 pm

      YES. If he could be any kind of a threat at all it would help 100 percent. It’s like Ben Simmons in the playoffs. At some point teams know they’re best defense is letting your shoot it from there

      • Garrett Winters

        November 7 at 1:53 pm

        Currently a less athletic version of Russell Westbrook

  10. OKstate Grad

    November 7 at 1:27 pm

    I like the depth we have, and I know he is subbing this often early to get guys minutes, but I expect that to go way down by January. You can’t ever get a rhythm going when you’re doing mass subbing every 2 minutes. I’m not sure who the final 8-9 will be, but I think it’ll all sort itself out soon.

  11. Tbeezy

    November 7 at 1:27 pm

    College basketball needs some rule changes badly.

    Move the 3pt back even further, 3 seconds in the pain on D, move to 4 quarters instead of two halves.

    It’s honestly hard to watch college basketball when it turns into a foul fest and no one can get to the rim.

  12. davids

    November 7 at 1:27 pm

    A win is a win but pretty lackluster.

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