That’s one game Brad Underwood probably won’t want to remember. Against one of his former conference foes, the Cowboys (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) gave up 90 points to the Central Arkansas Bears (0-2, 0-0 Southland). The Cowboys allowed the Bears to stick around, and couldn’t seem to put them away until the very end.
With the win, this is the second time ever OSU has scored 100+ points in back-to-back games and the first time since the '93-'94 season. pic.twitter.com/lHNnGLJuF2— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) November 15, 2016
This game truly was a game of runs. 28 seconds into the game, the Cowboys jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, and it had all the makings of a straight up domination, much like the OSU vs. Texas Tech game did. We all remember how that turned out, right? Well, I was having flashbacks watching this game.
Everything was going alright for the Pokes until the 09:16 mark of the first half. Cameron McGriff just put a dunk through for OSU to make the score 29-16. Let’s just say the Pokes had problems getting out of the 30s. Over the next six minutes, the Cowboys couldn’t get to the 40 point mark. UCA capitalized on this cold streak, and went on a 21-10 run to make the score 39-37.
The teams traded buckets and free throws, and with two minutes left in the first half, the score was tied at 41. Over the next minute and a half, the Bears were stuck at 41, and the Cowboys slowly inched their way to a 50-42 halftime lead.
The Bears pulled it back to within two coming out of the locker room, before OSU went on an 8-2 run to push the lead back up to nine. UCA went on a 12-4 run to make the score 63-62 in favor of the Cowboys, but then the Bears hit a wall. In the nearly five minutes it took UCA to reach 70 points, the Cowboys went on a tear, scoring 20 points to push the lead to 83-70 for the fighting Underwoods.
After that, the Cowboys never allowed the lead to get lower than nine. Over the last six minutes of the game, the teams exchanged baskets, and ultimately, it was the Bears who outscored the Cowboys 20-19, but thanks to the 12 point swing earlier, the Cowboys held on to win 102-90.
Senior Phil Forte III led the Cowboys with 31 points on 8-14 shooting, including 4-10 behind the arc. Forte also was a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line. Pair that with four rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes, and the senior leader led his team to victory tonight, but fell one point short of his career high. With his first three pointer, Forte extended a team record dating back to 2001.
The streak continues! OSU has made at least one 3-pointer in 517 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 13, 2001. #okstate— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) November 15, 2016
Jawun Evans had 23 points on 8-11 shooting, as well as 7-10 from the charity stripe. Tack on five rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and a block, and the sophomore on the Naismith Award watch list had himself another impressive night.
For the second game in a row, Jeffrey Carroll had at least 20 points. Tonight, he shot 6-9 from the floor, 2-4 from downtown, and 6-8 from the line. This time out though, he got his double-double, pulling down 11 boards to go along with an assist in 24 minutes off the bench.
In our game preview, one of the keys to the game was contain Jordan Howard, the point guard for the Bears. Looks like Coach Underwood should have done a little pregame reading, because his team did not contain Howard. He put up 28 points on Brad Underwood’s defense, shooting 7-13 from the field, including 4-5 from 3 point land and 10-11 from the stripe. He also collected three rebounds, dished two dimes, and pickpocketed the Cowboys three times in 37 minutes.
Guard Mathieu Kamba also collected a double-double for UCA, putting up 19 points on 7-12 shooting and 5-7 free throws. In 30 minutes, Kamba collected 10 rebounds and an assist.
Fouls were a HUGE problem in this game. The refs stopped the game an astonishing 57 times to call a foul. They called 13 fouls on both teams in the first half, and the Cowboys got whistled 17 times to the Bears’ 14 times. That’s just too much. The refs weren’t allowing any contact, and at times it appeared even ghost contact was being called. It made for a very frustrating game to watch, and neither team could get any momentum going due to the constant stoppage, hence the game of runs. Both Mitchell Solomon and Cameron McGriff fouled out in the game, while six total players had four fouls. This is simply too much for a non-conference game.
Brad Underwood was not happy with how his team moved the ball last game. Well unfortunately, not much changed this game. When asked about it after the game, Coach Underwood had this to say.
"Well we won't pass. We just dribble the ball. You can't do that. I don't care what league you are in, who you are up against, you have to move the basketball. We ended up with 20 assists on 34 field goals, which is a decent percentage, but we didn't run anything. It gets some match ups. You have to move, you have to cut, you have to create the mismatch, and you have to move the ball faster than the zone does. And then give yourself opportunities. Right now, as much we are working on it, that's what we are doing right now."
We at CRFF were also looking for bench utilization from the Cowboys. Tonight, the OSU bench had 36 points on 52.2% shooting. Most of this was from Carroll, but a couple timely 3s from Thomas Dziagwa and Tavarius Shine helped the Cowboys stay in the lead for the entire game.
As always, Coach Underwood had things he liked and didn’t like about the game.
"Well, I think you shoot 60 percent in a half, you shoot 56 percent at home, I'll take that most nights. Seventy-five percent from the free-throw line, 35 percent from the 3-point line, and you score 102, we did some good things. We need to do a better job of not fouling.
Up next, the Cowboys face the New Orleans Privateers, another former Southland foe for Brad Underwood. The game will tip off Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. from Gallagher-Iba Arena.
See the highlights from the game below: