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Hoops Preview: Cowboys Host Final Game Before Big 12 Play

Previewing OSU’s matchup with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

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STILLWATER — Oklahoma State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi each have five wins this season, but have gotten to that number in drastically different ways.

The Cowboys’ nonconference schedule has been grueling with impressive wins against Charleston, Memphis and LSU. The Islanders have beaten only one Division-I team, UT-Arlington, while also picking up wins against a Division-III school, a Division-II school and two NAIA schools, one of which is a school actually called Our Lady of the Lake University.

Despite the dip in competition, this is an important game for the Cowboys, as it’s their last opportunity to work out any kinks they have before starting Big 12 play against Iowa State on Wednesday.

Viewing Info

Time: 1 p.m. Saturday
Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena
TV: FSOK

Projected Lineups
Oklahoma State Class PPG RPG APG BPG SPG
Isaac Likekele Freshman 7.7 4.5 3.6 0.3 1.4
Thomas Dziagwa Junior 10.5 3.5 1.9 0 0.8
Lindy Waters Junior 12 5.1 3.2 0.2 1.5
Cameron McGriff Junior 13.1 7.3 1.5 1 1.2
Yor Anei Freshman 7 4.2 0.5 2.5 0.3
TAMU-Corpus Christi Class PPG RPG APG BPG SPG
Myles Smith Sophomore 11.8 3.3 2.4 0.2 0.8
Kareem South Junior 11.2 6 1.8 0 1.3
Jake Babic Senior 5.1 3.4 1.9 0.5 0.3
Jashawn Talton Junior 5.9 4.8 1.1 0.4 0.4
Elijah Schmidt Junior 5.1 4.4 0.5 0.3 0.3
Last Five

Oklahoma State

Opponent Result Score
at Minnesota L 83-76
at Tulsa L 74-71
vs. Houston L 63-53
vs. Nebraska L 79-56
vs. Central Arkansas W 82-73

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Opponent Result Score
Tennessee L 79-51
Texas State L 61-55
Huston-Tillotson (NAIA) W 81-63
UTSA L 64-50
Louisiana Tech L 73-68
Christmas with the Cowboys

The Cowboys had some precious time off to head home for Christmas.

With weather delaying travel, some players’ break unexpectedly lasted longer than others, as Duncan Demuth got back to Stillwater about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, and Mike Cunnnigham didn’t get to town until after the Cowboys’ Thursday morning practice.

Despite the travel troubles, Boynton called Thursday’s practice one of the team’s better practices all season and said it was good to see the team eager to get back to work.

“They’re pretty excited to be here, and that’s really what you look for,” Boynton said. “That your guys are excited to be back and excited to play some more. Knowing what we got coming up, they need to be excited because there’s a lot of opportunities out there for us.”

OSU’s 13 players come from seven different states and Canada. The travel isn’t too tedious for the team’s three Oklahoma players (Luke Major, Trey Reeves and Lindy Waters) nor is it tough for Texas natives Cameron McGriff and Isaac Liekekele. But it can be tough for guys like Curtis Jones, who is from Richmond, Virginia, but Jones traveled to California to spend time with his mother’s side of the family.

On Christmas Day, Likekele sent out this tweet that made the rounds of OSU Twitter.

He expanded on it Thursday with the media.

“Growing up, we didn’t always have it the best in my house,” Likekele said. “There were some Christmases where we didn’t have no tree, no presents, but it was nothing to me. Just being around my family and cousins and everybody coming, that’s what it was really all about. Seeing everybody smile even through the hard times we were going through, it was nothing. We just kept working, and it got me to where I am today.”

It’s that kind of uplifting atmosphere that Boynton said he is happy his young players could take a break to after a rough start to the season.

“Usually a team in our position schedules differently, and we go home happy because we’re 10-1,” Boynton said. “Going home 5-6 doesn’t feel the same. So, to be around people who can pick them up and encourage them, especially going in with a win helps that psyche a little bit, but I’ve made no bones about it. We’re about to play the hardest 18 games they’ve ever seen.”

The Turn of the Calendar

Throughout the Cowboys’ summer practices and in the early parts of the school year, Mike Boynton has said all along he hopes his team’s difficult schedule has the Pokes playing their best basketball at the turn of the calendar.

With one game until 2019, here is Boynton’s evaluation of that:

“We’re further along defensively than I thought we’d be at this point,” Boynton said. “We’re not quite where I hoped we’d be offensively. Part of it is, so much of offense is personnel driven. Defense is more team-based and schematically driven, so you can find units that can play well. The first game of the year, I looked down the bench and Luke Major, no disrespect to him, I think he’s a great player, he’s the only perimeter sub we have. So, it takes a while. Now, you’ve got Curtis Jones available, more weaponry.

“That’s part of it. The other part is we got to get a little more creative in terms of creating offense, and that’s starting to come. I hope in the next week or so, we start to find our groove offensively and put both ends of the court together and play better.”

Moving Weathers Off-Ball

On Thursday, Boynton said that midway through the Central Arkansas game, the Cowboys started to tinker a little with their offense.

That tinkering has continued in the break and one result of that is fans can expect to see Michael Weathers off the ball a little more.

“You’ll probably see Lindy playing more point, you’ll probably see Ice (Likekele) playing more point and (Weathers) being a scorer, at least for the next few weeks,” Boynton said. “But obivously, he’s a guy who can make plays at the end of a shot clock, specifically, so he’ll still have the ball in his hands a lot, but just with a different approach.”

Weathers has had some difficulties playmaking so far this season. He has a team-high 36 turnovers and only 18 assists. Weathers has, though, had success scoring. He is one of four Cowboys that has scored more than 100 points this season, but he’s the only one who’s done so while having played less than 300 minutes. Weathers has barely played 200 minutes this season, as he sits at 205.

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