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Notebook: Brad Underwood is Undefeated in Norman



It was an ugly game in Norman in stretches, but the Cowboys held on and Brad Underwood will head home from his first trip to Norman with a W which is something his predecessor never did.

Let’s jump right into the notebook — starting with the Bedlam aspect.

• The Bedlam series has been somewhat lopsided as of late. The Sooners had won seven straight coming into Monday and still hold an 83-27 record at home against the Cowboys. OSU hadn’t won in Norman in 12 years. That 2004 team included Tony Allen and John Lucas and went to the Final Four.

• The narrative coming into tonight’s game was two 2-6 teams going in opposite directions. The Sooners had lost 10 of their last 12 and OSU was on a three-game winning streak in which they next trailed and averaged allowing 70 points per game …

• OSU shot 32 percent from the field (31 percent from 3) in the first half while allowing the Sooners to shoot 50 percent (38 percent from 3), but still went into the half only down one. How’s that possible? The held the offensive rebound advantage 12-5.

• Jawun Evans was aggressive early. He attempted his fourth free throw with less than four minutes gone. He got to the stripe eight times in the first half. That matches his Arkansas total. He hasn’t reached eight in a Big 12 game since the opener against West Virginia. Evans finished 11-16 from the charity stripe. The only time he attempted more free throw was when he went to the line 17 times against UConn.

• Getting to the line is something Brad Underwood harped on for Evans early in the season. You can’t argue with the results — especially with the shooting woes the Cowboys suffered from on Monday night.

• In his first half, Evans accounted for 70 percent of OSU’s 35 points by getting either buckets or assists. He was going for Russell Westbrook-like usage numbers. Again, not complaining about the result. Sometimes a great player needs to will his team to a win. It wasn’t pretty but he made it happen.

• Jeffrey Carroll may be the most improved played in the nation this season but he had one of his worst performances of the year on Big Monday. The effort was there with nine rebounds, but he didn’t make his first shot from the field until the second half and ended the game 1-8 (0-3 from 3). He also had a couple of silly fouls that came close to landing him on the bench.

• But before we could complain too much about “Clip”, he came up big on the last play getting a hand on Kameron McGusty’s attempt at a game winner.

• The crowd was not great in Norman. On the broadcast, Fran Franschilla said this was “the most sedate” Bedlam atmosphere he’d ever seen. Lloyd Noble Center looked about half empty on TV. That’s one year removed from a Final Four run.

And this…

And this…

• I love that Underwood is poking the bear on this Bedlam rivalry — especially since he paid it off.

• The Cowboys’ bench was good all night. Lindy Waters looked pretty confident in his first trip back to his hometown, going for 11 points (4-5, 3-3 from 3) in 18 minutes. I thought Brandon Averette played well although the box score won’t shot it. He is a willing and confident shooter but doesn’t force the issue that much.

• Jawun!

• The Cowboys jumped out to a 10-point lead about halfway through the second half, thanks to Jawun Evans and Linday Waters — who scored a couple quick buckets including his second 3-pointer.

• But their double-digit lead was short lived as OU went on a 9-0 run before Phil Forte hit a 3. OSU struggled to score for stretches, going over five minutes without a made field goal before Lindy Waters hit his third trey.

• With about a minute left, OSU was down three and were gifted two misses at the stripe from Dante Buford and the Cowboys came down on offense and were only looking for the 3. I don’t know if that was Underwood or Evans but it was frustrating to watch and it could have lost OSU the game.

Luckily, it didn’t.

• Evans made two great plays and one good play in the last half minute which made the difference. After Mitchell Solomon stole the ball under his own basket and made two free throws to get OSU within one, Evans continued his bullying of Jordan Woodard with a backcourt steal. He tried to get to the basket once and when that didn’t happen he saved the ball to the only place it could possibly go…

• Phil Forte had a rough night shooting the ball. Just two days removed from his record-breaking 300th made 3-pointer, he went 4-11 from the field and 3-8 from 3. But the only one that mattered was No. 3. In the most open look he saw all night, Phil Forte left Lloyd Noble Center in a better state than he found it — five years ago.

• We’ve talked all year about how young Oklahoma State’s team is. Well, OU’s is even younger. The Cowboys are the 263rd in experience nationally, but the Sooners are 329th out of 351 teams. They showed it tonight. Both teams did at times.

• Overall, this was an ugly game on both sides. The Cowboys had their worst shooting night of the season, shooting just 33 percent.

• This was terrific.

• The good news is they were able to win an ugly game on the road in the Big 12. In Norman, they won with their best three players going 10-39 from the field. They did it by winning the rebound battle (44-31), the offensive rebound battle (20-7) and by making the plays that mattered down the stretch.

• This win was the Cowboys’ sixth win away from Gallagher-Iba Arena this year. That total is the most for OSU since the Cowboys of 2013-14 won eight games away from home.

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