Oklahoma State got off to a good start in its quest to prove that it can succeed without Cade Cunningham.
After an 88-45 opening win over Texas-Arlington, the Cowboys will now try to avoid the trouble of a dangerous opponent when they host Oakland University on Friday night in Stillwater, Okla.
Oklahoma State, banned from this year’s NCAA tournament due to a corruption case involving former assistant coach Lamont Evans, looked strong in its first game without Cunningham, the # 1 overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft .
The Cowboys carried a mixture of returnees and new transfers against Texas-Arlington. Memphis transfer Moussa Cisse (17 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Kansas transfer Bryce Thompson (14 points) led the way, while returnees Avery Anderson III and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe each had 13 points.
“I think we’re really, really good on the half-field,” said Mike Boynton, Oklahoma state coach. “That’s something we talked about. Our length and athleticism and the ability to switch people and keep people off the track and then have a human eraser back there just adds one more element. “
The state of Oklahoma will now turn to Oakland, which was promoted to the Horizon League championship game last year but is likely to rank sixth in that league’s preseason poll.
At the head of the Golden Grizzlies returnees is Jalen Moore, who was named to the first team of the Horizon League preseason. Micah Parrish and Marquette Transfer Jamal Cain are also key players.
Oakland (0-1) showed a solid performance in their season opener in West Virginia on Tuesday, beating the Mountaineers in a 60-53 defeat over many distances.
The Golden Grizzlies finished with a crucial 48-33 rebound advantage over West Virginia. Cain scored 15 points and Parrish double-doubled (10 points, 12 rebounds), but Moore finished with four points on 2-of-16 and made 13 of the team’s 25 turnover.
“We were by far the better rebound team,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. “We were as athletic as they were and we guarded just as hard as they were. It was everyone’s game.”