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Three Things to Know Entering Oklahoma State’s Exhibition Game with Oklahoma Baptist

On Hicklen facing his old team, injuries at point and 3-point shooting.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The school year is flying by, as Mike Boynton’s Cowboys will take to Eddie Sutton Court on Wednesday night to unofficially tip off their 2023-24 season.

Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma Baptist in an exhibition game starting at 7 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Here are three storylines to be mindful of entering the game.

Jarius Hicklen Plays against Former Team

It’s not all that often that these exhibition games bring storylines involving the opponent, but Jarius Hicklen, a transfer in his first season at OSU, started his college career at Oklahoma Baptist.

A 3-point specialist, Hicklen was OBU’s leading scorer in the 2020-21 season, averaging 16.2 a game while shooting 42% from 3-point range.

That season propelled Hicklen to North Florida where he averaged 12.2 points a game over two seasons and shot 38% from 3 before landing on OSU’s radar out of the portal.

OBU coach Jason Eaker is still with the Bison after recruiting Hicklen to Shawnee.

Cowboys Short on Point Guards Going into Wednesday

Oklahoma State will be without point guards Javon Small and Jamyron Keller in Wednesday’s exhibition, Boynton announced Monday.

Boynton said Small is out with some “knee maintenance” after his season-ending injury at East Carolina last season, and Keller is dealing with a wrist injury. Boynton didn’t give a timetable on their returns but said it was “nothing long term” and that both would practice this week.

“We want to make sure that we have them for the long haul,” Boynton said. “So while I don’t anticipate them being out long, I don’t want to put a specific timeframe on it because I want to make sure that they’re ready to go when it’s time.”

So, Wednesday will be a committee approach to the point guard spot, Boynton said. John Michael Wright will likely start the game there, but Boynton also mentioned Bryce Thompson, Hicklen and Eric Dailey Jr. as guys who could see some run there Wednesday.

Return of the 3

Oklahoma State hasn’t shot above 33% from 3-point range in a season since 2018-19. It’s been perhaps the most notable flaw of Boynton’s most recent teams.

But Boynton sounds confident in this group’s ability to let it fly with the additions of guys like Hicklen and Connor Dow — and everybody else.

There have been times in recent seasons where Boynton would bring in a 3-point shooting transfer (Jonathan Laurent or Ferron Flavors) and it hasn’t necessarily worked out, but Boynton said the feel is different with this group.

“It feels different in the sense that as a group, this is probably the best shooting group that I’ve had,” Boynton said. “We could literally put five guys on the court that could all make a 3. We’ve never had that before. And be comfortable with whoever gets open taking a 3 in that lineup — maybe with (Justin) McBride at [center], and Dailey at [power forward], and you’ve got Hicklen and Dow and John Michael, you’ve got five guys who can all make them, which totally changes how teams have to decide to defend you.”

PFB’s Projected Starting Lineup for Wednesday

PG — John Michael Wright
SG — Jarius Hicklen
SF — Bryce Thompson
PF — Eric Dailey Jr.
C — Mike Marsh

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