Jawun Evans had his coming out party in the first meeting, outplaying player of the year candidate Buddy Hield in a Bedlam classic. Evans outscored Hield by 16 points, while committing twice as few turnovers. Evans carried the Cowboys throughout the entire game, as Chris Olivier was the only other Cowboys to score in double digits. Oklahoma State won't have Evans this time around, and Hield is looking as good as ever heading into the final stretch of games. The Cowboys are going to need a completely different game plan tonight if they are to pull of the upset.
Tyree Griffin, who didn't even play in the first meeting, is averaging 37 minutes a game since Evans went down with a season ending injury. Expect the sophomore point guard to exceed that average, going up against a couple extremely versatile guards in Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard. Griffin is proving that he has big game potential and could prove to be a nice compliment to Evans in the future.
Jeff Newberry did an admirable job on Hield last time around, forcing the senior star to 10 turnovers. Not only will Newberry need to duplicate his defensive success, but the Cowboys are going to heavily rely on him to produce offensively. Leyton Hammonds will have his hands full with Ryan Spangler, but much like Newbery, Hammonds has to find ways to be productive on offense. Hammonds scored a mere five points in the first meeting, but will need at least three times that if the Pokes are to have a shot in this one.
There's no doubt Oklahoma can score. The Sooners are shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc and 46 percent from the field. Without Evans and Phil Forte, the Cowboys have had a nightmare of a time trying to put points on the board. Barring an offensive explosion, Oklahoma State will have to win this one on defense. The Sooners have proven to be beatable, but playing in Norman has been ugly for the Pokes in the past. If OSU can pull this off, it would be the highlight of the year. But don't hold your breathe.