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Oklahoma State Pounds Memphis 84-64 in Orlando, Gets 2018 Champ Nova Next

Pokes get another Wildcats on Friday.

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BOX SCORE

We have many things to give thanks for on this annual holiday, and apparently a basketball team that has grown leaps and bounds from its first game — a loss to Charlotte two weeks ago — is one of them. Oklahoma State moved to 3-1 on the season after discarding Memphis 84-64 in the opening round of the Advocare Invitational in Orlando on Thursday.

OSU was led by Thomas Dziagwa, who had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and was joined in double figures in scoring by Yor Anei (!), Michael Weathers, Cam McGriff, Lindy Waters and Ice. Defensively OSU got 12 boards from McGriff, and Anei had an insane 6 blocks on the day (a new OSU freshman record).

The Cowboys led by 10 at halftime and looked, uh, kind of dominant for most of the game, especially on the defensive end. One thing that was encouraging is even though the 3-pointers weren’t falling like they normally might (for all players not named Dizzy) — OSU was 8-of-21 from 3 — they still scored by working the ball inside and getting loads of layups and dunks from Anei and McGriff. OSU was, I had to double check this, 20 for 28 on 2-pointers on Thursday. Twenty for twenty-eight!

On the flip side, their 10 blocks defensively were a tournament record, and they held Penny’s Big Cats to 36 percent shooting from the field. To look at it another way, Memphis took 17 more shots than OSU but made four fewer.

If you’re looking for a negative, OSU did have 21 turnovers — including four each from Ice and Weathers — and looked sloppy in transition at times in the second half. But there are some intriguing pieces. My interest was piqued in a way it hasn’t been to this point. I’m not sure OSU fans should bank on Anei going 6-of-7 from the field with a half dozen blocks every time out, but he’s at the very least an intriguing early season asset.

While it’s true that Memphis is not Duke — although as an aside I enjoyed watching Penny Hardaway roam the sidelines with Mike Miller sitting behind him — they aren’t necessarily a slouch, either. The Tigers are a top-110 KenPom team and played a solid LSU squad to nine points earlier in the season. And the Pokes dusted ’em.

Tomorrow is the Big Daddy™️ test, though. OSU gets the reigning national champs in Villanova, which is a fringe top-25 team and No. 21 currently in KenPom. The other Wildcats beat Canisius 83-56 on Thursday to advance to play the Pokes. The game will be at 10:30 a.m. on ESPN or ESPN2.

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