The Cowboys are now 3-0 in the Mike Boynton era, winning their contest tonight against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. The Cowboy defense continues to impress, holding ORU to 33 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers. On the offensive end, Brandon Averette led the way with 21 points and nine assists.
Here are some thoughts on the victory for Oklahoma State:
The defense is legit
After some lapses early, the Cowboys locked up the Golden Eagles in the second half, holding them to only 21 points. The rotations looked good for the whole game, someone was always in help and did not let up many easy or open shots. The Cowboys blocked six shots, had five steals, and forced 12 turnovers. There is speed everywhere, and they all find a way to get in passing lanes and force tough passes. The guards up top (i.e. Averette and Kendall Smith), are guarding the point guard the full length of the court. Along with that, the Cowboys mix in both man and zone full-court presses.
The bottom line is that this defense looks like a more controlled version of the Brad Underwood defense, and I love it.
Mitchell Solomon has improved on both ends
The 6’9 senior looked really good tonight, pouring in 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. On the defensive end, he made his presence known as well. He had three blocks and seven rebounds. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time on the defensive end to contest a shot. He also looked really good on the offensive end, setting screens and rolling to the bucket. He’s still trying to work on his outside shot, and it is a threat at times. The most important thing for tonight was that he stayed out of foul trouble, he actually did not commit a foul at all.
The Cowboys fall in love with the 3-pointer at times
Oklahoma State has shooters, and I understand that #ShootersShoot, but sometimes they try too hard to put up threes. There were multiple possessions where the Cowboys would shoot a three, miss, get the rebound, then shoot another three, miss, get the rebound, and do it all over again. It was frustrating when there were mismatches down low and they keep shooting threes. The Cowboys put up 33 threes, only making 13. Granted, making 39 percent of your threes is not too bad, but it was the volume of shots that is kind of concerning. I hope that down the road Oklahoma State does not have to rely on outside shots.
The rebounding on both ends is solid
Oklahoma State crashed the boards extremely well tonight. The Cowboys out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 47-33, including out-rebounding them on the offensive glass 17-12. The Cowboys were the bigger team in this game, which is not always the case. Not only were Solomon and Lucas N’Guessan grabbing rebounds, the Cowboy guards were getting rebounds too. Tavarius Shine had seven, and Smith and Averette had four. This is another element to the defense that has been impressive, they are not allowing many second-chance opportunities for opposing teams. This will bode well as the season goes on if they can sustain this success on the glass.
Brandon Averette...really good
Averette has been the most impressive Cowboy so far this season. Off the bench, he poured in 21 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. His jump shot looks even better than last year, as he shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. His driving ability is extremely similar to Jawun Evans, as well as the floater he has developed. Averette was more of a facilitator last year, but with his scoring threat now, he has become a deadly weapon for the Pokes.
Zach Dawson is getting more comfortable
It’s only his second game, but Zach Dawson look comfortable tonight. The speed of the game did not look to be too much for him. On the defensive end, he looked solid as well. Offensively, he dropped 11 points, most of which happened at the end of the second half. When he saw outside shots weren’t falling, he starting attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. I was impressed with his ability to attack and not settle for jumpers. Dawson is going to be a really good player, and with two key players out, he will continue to get significant minutes. He will do a lot of development in game, and this will be important to his improvement moving forward.
All of this is without Jeffrey Carroll and Davon Dillard
Two of the best players for Oklahoma State haven’t even stepped on the floor yet, but this team looks pretty darn good. Granted, it is early in the season against lesser opponents, but they are blowing these teams out. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing against inferior teams. When both Carroll and Dillard can get back on the court, I am excited for what this team is going to be able to do. Not to overreact or anything, but this does not look like a team that will finish last in the conference.
Oklahoma State takes the floor next on Monday against Texas A&M. The game is at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 from Brooklyn, NY. This will be a great test for the Cowboys early in the season, as the Aggies come in ranked No. 16 in the nation.