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OSU Basketball Superlatives: First Three Seasons of the Mike Boynton Era

Looking back at the past 100 games of OSU basketball.



Three years ago today Mike Boynton was announced as the Oklahoma State basketball program’s 20th coach.

It’s been an up-and-down three seasons for Boynton’s Cowboys, but there are strong building blocks going forward, namely the upcoming addition of Cade Cunningham.

Boynton has a 51-49 coaching record through his first three seasons, and here are some of the highlights through that span.

Best Game: Bedlam on Jan. 20, 2018

This game had everything — it was in front of a packed GIA crowd, the in-state rival came in ranked fourth in the country, OU had Trae Young, it went to overtime, everything.

Oklahoma State started hot, growing a 19-point lead midway through the first half, but then Young and the Sooners got going.

OU led 69-66 with under a minute to go when Mitchell Solomon, yes Mitchell Solomon, ripped Young near half court, dove on the ball and dished it to Tavarius Shine for a dunk.

Then down 73-70, Kendall Smith hit a game-tying 3 from the wing. Young’s would-be game-winner missed.

With OU trailing 83-81 in overtime, Young had one last shot at a win. He had Smith and Jeffrey Carroll guarding him, but he heaved up his 39th shot (a real number) of the game. He missed, and the students spilled onto the floor.

Young finished with 48 points on his 39 shots. He took 20 of OU’s 35 3-point attempts.

Carroll led OSU with 23 points. He also had a game-high 13 rebounds. Smith added 20 points, most of which were clutch.

Best Moment: Winning at Phog Allen

The game itself wasn’t as good as that Bedlam game, but any time a first-year coach wins in Lawrence (or any coach anywhere), it’s a big deal.

The Cowboys led by as many as 18 and went on to beat No. 7 Kansas 84-79. Kansas’ biggest lead was 3, and it was less than a minute into the game.

It was the set-up for OSU sweeping the Jayhawks in the regular season when the Cowboys again beat KU in GIA to close out the regular season.

Best Player: Isaac Likekele

Honorable mentions to Jeffrey Carroll and Cameron McGriff, but I’m going to go with Isaac Likekele being the best player of the Boynton era to this point.

His impact on Boynton’s team is evident from this season alone. When Likekele was there and healthy, the Cowboys were a force. When he wasn’t they weren’t.

Likekele was the 156th-ranked player in the 2018 class. He’s come to OSU and started every game he has been available for and won a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

Most/Fewest Points

OSU has twice cracked the century mark under Boynton. Both came in fall 2017. They put up 101 against Houston Baptist and 102 against Texas-Rio Grande. Gotta love those low-level Texas schools.

Four times OSU has scored fewer than 50 in a game, and strangely (?) three of them happened within 30 days of each other this past season.

West Virginia (2020): 47
Kansas State (2019): 46
West Virginia (2020): 41
TCU (2020): 40

Best Recruits

Obviously everyone knows Cade is the best recruit in program history, but here’s a look at Boynton’s top five (national ranking in parentheses), not counting the 2017 class since Boynton wasn’t the head coach for most of that recruiting period.

1. Cade Cunningham (1)
2. Marcus Watson (88)
3. Rondel Walker (94)
4. Avery Anderson (123)
5. Chris Harris Jr. (128)

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