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Hoops Preview: Cowboys Looks to End Skid with Matchup in Houston

What to know ahead of OSU’s game against Houston.



STILLWATER — Last season, Houston’s win over Oklahoma State was loss No. 3 of the Cowboys first (of several) three-game losing streaks of the year.

Oklahoma State will look for a different result Sunday when the Pokes travel to H-Town for a battle with Houston. It’ll be a tough contest, as Kelvin Sampson’s squad enters 6-2 with one of the Cougars losses being against a ranked Oregon team. Here are some talking points entering Sunday’s game.

Viewing Info

Time: 2 p.m. Sunday
Location: Fertitta Center in Houston
Watch: ESPN (Mark Neely, Fran Fraschilla)

No Ice

It looks as if the Pokes will be without leading scorer and starting point guard Isaac Likekele for the third straight game because of a sickness.

OSU coach Mike Boynton said Likekele recently returned to being around the team but that he has still been held out of practice. Boynton said he doesn’t anticipate this being a long-term thing, but that he isn’t comfortable putting a time table on Likekele’s return.

“He’s better, making progress,” Boynton said. “He probably still isn’t available yet. I hate to get ahead of myself, but I want to be honest. I don’t anticipate him playing. He is doing better. He hasn’t practiced, but he’s been around the last couple days, which is progress from the four or five days prior to that where he was kinda sequestered for a while. So we’ll see. As he continues to make progress, we’ll give him a chance to get back into shape, get back to practice.”

Familiar Foe in Grimes

Houston guard Quentin Grimes started in two games against OSU last season, doing so as a Jayhawk.

Grimes was the No. 10 prospect in the 2018 class when the five-star guard chose to go to Kansas. He started all 36 of the Jayhawks games before testing NBA Draft waters. When he withdrew from the draft, Grimes couldn’t return to Kansas, as Bill Self had already filled his scholarship. That led Grimes to gaining immediate eligibility with the Cougars.

Grimes has eclipsed 20 points three times this season, including a 32-point outing against Rice on Nov. 19.

“He’s always been really good,” Boynton said. “I recruited Quentin when I was an assistant here briefly. Tremendous talent, can really score. Sometimes it’s about finding a better fit, and I think he’s found a really good fit, a coach that’s maybe allowing him to be a little bit more featured. Obviously at Kansas, he was surrounded by other really talented guys, but I’ve always thought that he can be a high-level producer because he scores effortlessly most of the time.”

On the Road Again

There is a firm argument to be made that the Cowboys have been better outside Gallagher-Iba Arena than in it.

OSU is 3-0 away from home this year and 4-2 on Eddie Sutton Court. Even taking away the Cowboys’ past two losses, OSU has a 24.7-point average margin of victory away from home and a 9.3-point average margin of victory in Stillwater.

It’s probably too early in the season to extrapolate too much from that, but the Cowboys have dominated in games outside of Stillwater. It started Nov. 13 when Thomas Dziagwa hit seven 3-pointers in a 19-point win in Charleston. Then OSU ripped Syracuse and Ole Miss in Brooklyn at the NIT Season Tip-Off off big performances from the ill Likekele and the recently foul-ridden Yor Anei.

“It’s definitely a different feeling when you go on the road and there’s only a few of you guys and everyone’s cheering against you,” Lindy Waters said. “For true competitors, you like that. They like where everyone doubts them. I think, especially all of our team, we have that to some extent.”

Oklahoma State’s Projected Lineup
Lindy Waters Senior 13.7 4.9 2.4 1.3 0
Chris Harris Freshman 3.7 1.1 0.7 0.3 0
Thomas Dziagwa Senior 9 1.4 1 0.8 0
Cameron McGriff Senior 10.3 6.3 2 0.3 0.2
Yor Anei Sophomore 11.4 6.1 0.1 0.9 2.9
Houston’s Projected Lineup
DeJon Jarreau Redshirt-Junior 10.6 3.3 3.6 0.5 0.9
Quentin Grimes Sophomore 16.9 4.3 3.1 0.8 0.3
Nate Hinton Sophomore 13.6 9.3 1.6 0.9 0.3
Fabian White Junior 10.8 6.4 0.6 0 1
Chris Harris Redshirt-Senior 2.4 4.1 0.1 0.4 2.3
Oklahoma State’s Past Five
Opponent Result Score
vs. Western Michigan W 70-63
vs. Syracuse W 86-72
vs. Ole Miss W 78-37
vs. Georgetown L 81-74
vs. Wichita State L 80-61
Houston’s Past Five
Opponent Result Score
at No. 11 Oregon L 78-66
vs. Houston Baptist W 112-73
vs. Texas State W 68-60
at South Carolina W 76-56
vs. UT-Arlington W 71-63

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