Jawun Evans had 21, Chris Olivier chipped in with 16 points off the bench, and Oklahoma State improved to 11-10 to give the Big 12 a 7-3 win over the SEC in the Big 12 vs SEC challenge.
Evans was the star for the Cowboys once again, netting 50% of his field goals and going 7-8 from the charity stripe. The true freshman also had seven rebounds and five assists to complement only one turnover; that turnover didn’t come until the 5:56 mark of the second half. But the true X factor to the Pokes' 74-63 win at Auburn was Olivier off the bench. He was exactly what OSU needed and what Mitchell Solomon and Anthony Allen have failed to provide throughout the year -- a low-post threat. Olivier went 6-9 from the field, while Solomon and Allen had a combined two points. Olivier may not be a typical center, and is probably better suited as a forward, but the 6-8 lefty is very similar to Marshall Moses, who had a stellar senior year at the 5 position despite only being 6-7. Leyton Hammonds was the final Cowboy in double figures with 10 points and six rebounds. Jeffrey Carroll went for nine points on 3-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
For the first time in a long, long time, the Cowboys were in control for the entire game. OSU never trailed in this one, and stretched the lead out to as many as 14 in the first half before ultimately taking a 40-31 lead into halftime. Tyree Griffin was fouled on a three point attempt with 0.6 seconds left in the half, and proceeded to knock all three of them down. The Cowboys continued to drift away from Auburn, even stretching the lead back to 14 on an Evans three, but the Eagles soared back and cut the lead to 57-52 thanks to a 10-0 run. That was as close as the Cowboys would allow them to get, but it was tight until the end. Oklahoma State maintained a 10 point cushion down the stretch, as neither team gave much ground. January 30, 2016 marks the first true-road game win of the year for the Cowboys. Astonishing to believe, I know.
Up next for the Cowboys is a tangle with Texas Tech in Lubbock, who has been surprisingly competitive in the Big 12. The schedule looks pretty daunting the rest of the way, with trips to Kansas, Iowa State and Oklahoma yet to come.