The Cowboys kicked off their 2015-2016 campaign with a convincing 91-57 win Friday night over the UT-Martin Skyhawks. Phil Forte led all scorers with 24 points and transfer senior Chris Olivier added an impressive 14 off the bench.
Oklahoma State, sporting their turquoise uniforms in honor of Native American Heritage Month, never really pulled away from the Skyhawks in a rather bland first half. The Cowboys consistently held around a five point lead throughout before stretching it to nine to close out the half. Midway through the first half, Cowboy guard Tavarius Shine left the game with what looked to be a painful shoulder injury; he was helped off and later returned with his arm in a sling.
Juwan Evans saw his first minutes as a Cowboy when he checked in off the bench in the eighth minute of play. Evans’ confidence and poise was immediately noticeable in the way he handled the ball and conducted the offense, despite not being fully healthy. OSU senior guard Phil Forte led all scorers at the half with 14 points. While Forte struggled to find open looks on the perimeter, he found a home at the line, scoring 10 of his 24 points from the stripe.
The second half saw a lot of the same for the first five minutes before Mitchell Solomon let loose on his second three of the game and drained it. It gave the team a much needed spark and the Cowboys never looked back. They followed Solomon’s shot with a 24-6 run and the Cowboys took a commanding 76-47 lead with 10 minutes left in the half. The run included six straight points from Olivier, followed by eight straight from Forte.
With five minutes left in the half, the Cowboys gave the crowd of almost 5,000 a reason to get on their feet. Jeffrey Carroll checked in for just the second time all night and made an immediate splash with back to back electrifying dunks. Both dunks were assisted by Evans who impressed with his ability to distribute.
The Cowboys outscored the Skyhawks 51-26 in the second half and shot an impressive 56 percent from the field for the game. The victory marked the 40th straight time Oklahoma State has won their home opener.
Up next for the Cowboys is Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Tip-off is set for 7 PM on Monday night in Gallagher-Iba.
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