The injury-plagued Cowboys (7-2) won a squeaker against Tulsa (4-4) tonight to avenge their loss in Stillwater last year. Fate seemed to be working against the Cowboys in every way, but as the old adage goes, good teams find a way to win.
Shortly before the game, we learned that Jawun Evans would not be available tonight due to an injury suffered in practice.
Jawun Evans not available for #okstate today. Sprained shoulder (the other one) in practice Thursday. Considered day to day.— John Helsley (@jjhelsley) December 10, 2016
Forte also was injured in practice, but took the floor tonight.
#OKState, without Jawun Evans (bruised AC joint) and Phil Forte (bruised hip) injured also, leads Tulsa 3-2 early. Free throws coming for TU— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) December 10, 2016
As you would expect, with the top two players dealing with injuries, the freshman had to play extended minutes. As the game wore on, you could tell they were not prepared to do so, but they stepped up when they were needed most and did what had to be done to secure the victory.
This was the lowest scoring game of the season for the Pokes. The Cowboys had just a 38-30 lead at the half. Yeah. 38 points at halftime. They came into this game 3rd in Division I for points scored per game, with 95.3. By my math, the Pokes’ season average is now 92.6 ppg, good for 4th in the nation.
So the question for the Pokes became, who would step up and take over?. Jeffrey Carroll filled that role in the first half, scoring 11 points. When Carroll was bitten by the injury bug in the second half, it was up to the freshmen to finish out the game. Enter Brandon Averette. In his first career start, the freshman finished with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Good (lucky?) call there, Sumer...
Thomas Dziagwa, another freshman, stepped up and hit three huge shots in the last 10 minutes of the game. He scored all 11 of his points in this stretch, hitting three shots from beyond the arc, as well as a pair of free throws with a second left on the clock to secure the victory. He also dished an assist to Hammonds for another clutch three pointer.
Sterling Taplin led Tulsa with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. Close behind him was Jaleel Wheeler with 15 points including 3-3 from deep, along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
Here’s the full box score and team stats from tonight’s Oklahoma State win, courtesy of ESPN.com
Up next, the Cowboys take on the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (1-8) Wednesday night in Stillwater with tipoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. This matchup appears to be a God-send for the banged-up Fighting-Underwoods, as they will be able to heal from injuries and get the freshman more experience. Keep an eye out for our preview Wednesday morning!