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The Rundown: Boynton on Offensive Struggles, Marcus Watson and Texas

A breakdown of what Mike Boynton said Monday.

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STILLWATER — The Cowboys are 0-3 in Big 12 play, and things don’t get much easier.

Oklahoma State hosts Texas and No. 2 Baylor this week, but before all that OSU coach Mike Boynton met with reporters before practice on Monday. Here is a breakdown of what he had to say.

• On how to get shooting confidence back: “I don’t know if there is anything specific as much as, the ball going in the basket will help. We’ve had long stretches here of late even with guys that we know are proven shot-makers. Then it kinda becomes a thing. Basketball is so much about confidence and positive energy. You can get some of the other stuff in there, and it really makes things hard because the truth is I really feel like our defense is as good as it’s been since I’ve been here. That includes the year that I was an assistant coach. We had the No. 1 offensive efficiency team in the country. I think this is the best defensive team that we’ve had.

“But you can’t score 40 and win. That’s just the bottom line. We’ve gotta find a way to get these guys believing in themselves a little bit more, and hopefully Wednesday will be the start to that.”

• “Certainly you gotta look at what you’re doing in every way. We’ll shoot more. Maybe we haven’t shot enough. Maybe we’re really good defensively because we play a lot of defense in practice. Maybe we need to shoot more in practice, and we’ll make a conscious effort moving forward to do so.”

• Boynton said confidence spreads, so if one or two guys could start making some shots, the team confidence overall will build back up.

• “Avery (Anderson) has been our most consistent player for about three weeks now. It’s been because he had his struggles early. He was turning the ball over at a high rate and wasn’t really getting the ball where he needed to. He was able to play himself through that, and now he’s kinda come out on the other side feeling pretty good.”

• On the shooting struggles not affecting OSU in other areas: “I’m not going to say we’ve played well at all. Playing well includes making shots. That’s part of it. However, I feel so good about what we still can become because usually, especially from an offensive standpoint, when you don’t play well offensively, I’ve been around this game long enough to know, guys stop playing defense, and you find yourself in a place where you don’t do anything well. These guys have been able to continue to but into, ‘Hey, we just gotta keep fighting defensively.’ Eventually these shots will start falling, and we’ll find ourselves having more success.”

• “We’ll get through this. We believe we have the right guys. We believe we have the kids that care about the right things. We’ll figure out a way to have success moving forward.”

• “Winning is an interesting cure-all. It makes you feel better about everything you’re doing. I made the reference to our team when I talked to them yesterday, honestly if Ice (Isaac Likekele) doesn’t get (sick) after New York, if the Detroit Pistons were coming in here that following week, I think our guys would’ve thought they could’ve won. I don’t think we can beat the Pistons with all of our guys playing as well as they can, but now I’m not sure who could come in here that they would be sure they couldn’t lose to. It’s kinda that extreme, right? We just gotta find that middle ground where we just keep working, understand we’re gonna have struggles and we’ll come out of it on the other side.”

• On if he does any tinkering with half-court sets: “You always look at things you can adjust. I think we’ve played too slowly here recently. Part of it is, when you start 0-for-10 from 3, it makes you second guess. We passed up some shots. I charted the 19 3s that we took on Saturday, and 12 of them were shots that if we don’t take, we can’t have success. We can’t think about whether we missed them. We just have to continue to believe that if we do what these guys are doing, working on their games, investing in themselves personally, that we won’t shoot poorly forever.

“… From a half-court standpoint, we need to speed up the game a little bit more. We gotta get more possessions. Playing games in the 40s is not going to be a recipe. I think Mr. Iba might’ve been able to get away with it. Obviously there weren’t as many lines, there was no 3-point line, there was no shot clock. He’d be proud of our defense, but I’m not even sure he’d be happy with us offensively right now.”

• On not starting Yor Anei on Saturday: “As a coach you’re just searching for ways to give our guys a different way to think. Obviously Yor was the person who it impacted. Just give him a chance, because he hasn’t played consistently well, maybe he needed to see the game from the start a little bit different. Obviously it wasn’t the answer. It didn’t help us that much. We’ll continue to try to find ways to put ourselves into positions to get off to a good start.”

• On Jonathan Laurent: “It’s been kind of a head-scratcher for me because he practices very well, as consistent as anybody we have. And it just hasn’t showed up in games for whatever reason. I don’t believe in giving up on kids. Now, can we continue to play him and start him if he’s not producing ultimately, probably not. He’s mature enough. We’ve had conversations one-on-one about that. He’s gotta play better when his opportunities are there, but I believe that he’s about the right things to help our team win. Whatever that looks like moving forward, he’ll be comfortable with it.”

• On Marcus Watson entering the transfer portal: “It’s a really challenging situation. There’s not a whole lot that I can say. It’s a personal issue. I talk to him all the time. I visited with him today. I want to see the kid get to a place where he can have success. Whatever that looks like, I’m gonna support. Until there’s more information to share, there’s not a whole lot that I can go into as this process continues to play itself out.

“He’s in the transfer portal. I don’t know if this is final. He hasn’t gone to another school. He hasn’t started classes somewhere else. I still think we’re kinda in a little bit of a holding pattern. We can’t use his scholarship now, so we’re not gonna replace him at this point. But as we get more information, and you guys know, I’ll tell you exactly when we know more, exactly where we are. It’s a really unfortunate situation all around. For everybody involved, I don’t think that this something that they’ve enjoyed going through. But maybe something down the line that we all can learn from and figure out how to avoid moving forward.”

• On Courtney Ramey, who Boynton recruited hard before he committed to Texas: “I cheer for all these guys, man, whether we get them or not. Obviously, I don’t want him to play well on Wednesday. But whatever success they have, I’m all for it. … He’s a really good kid from a great family, and whatever success he has outside of Wednesday and whenever we play them again, I want to cheer for him.”

• On if he has recruited a guy harder that he hasn’t gotten: “I recruited Tyrese Maxey pretty hard, a freshman at Kentucky now. Those are probably the closest. We weren’t as close at the end with Tyrese. He decided pretty early. But in terms of going all the way to the end of the process, Courtney’s as close to … I had a kid, Stacey Poole, to bring up Kentucky again, that back in my South Carolina days I recruited for two and a half years. Our relationship was so good the kid called me crying, literally. Now he’s coaching basketball in Jacksonville, where he’s from. We still have a really good relationship. He coaches some young guys, and he sends recommendations on. But it happens. When you do this thing the right way, which I believe is from a genuine relationship standpoint, you can ultimately get over which school they choose and really cheer for them and still have a relationship with them moving forward.”

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