“A win is a win” is a common expression in sports and certainly feels relevant pertaining to this game. After its thrilling win over Florida State on Saturday, the Cowboys had to get up for in-state rival Tulsa on Tuesday.
Tulsa led for nearly the entire first half as they held the Cowboys to just 35.3 percent shooting. Even with the less athletic Tulsa squad sitting back in a zone, the Pokes really seemed to struggle to hit the mark for most of the game. This seemed like a game tailor made for a guy like Thomas Dziagwa to get his shot, yet he or anyone else never seemed to catch fire. Despite a clear amount of frustration setting in for the Cowboys, they were able to grind things out in the second half. The Pokes finally saw the ball go through the net in end as they shot 60 percent in the last eight minutes.
The Cowboys were led by Kendall Smith who shot 6-13 for 16 points, 13 of those coming in the second half. Interestingly, Smith was also the only Cowboy to attempt a free throw in this game, going 1-1 from the stripe.
Coming off an impressive 23 point performance against Florida State, Jeffrey Carroll tallied his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Mitchell Solomon had a decent little game, shooting 66.7 percent from inside the 3-point line. He would finish with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
We saw Yankuba Sima’s role continue to expand as he clocked in 17 minutes. It’s important that nobody expects a ton out of Sima this early. The guy has only played two games in an OSU jersey, so lets be reasonable here. I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve seen so far and I’ve been left wanting more in some areas.
Sima seems to be in very good shape and has looked pretty comfortable out there. He’s also shown flashes of a solid post up game. My problems (again, he’s only played two games so I’m just evaluating what I’ve seen so far) have been that he hasn’t seemed incredibly aggressive. Sima’s been labeled a great rim protector and rebounder and I haven’t really seen that yet. This is more of just me looking for something to nitpick than pointing out a real problem because I do think this guy will be a very key contributor for this team.
Overall, I was impressed with what I saw tonight.Not because the Cowboys played well, but because they played pretty poorly and still stayed composed and got the win. It’s easy to come out flat just a few days after an emotional win but the Pokes showed some real maturity tonight which reflects the great job Coach Boynton does keeping the team focused.
We are approaching the gauntlet that is the Big 12 basketball schedule. Make no mistake, this is the best and deepest conference in college basketball. The Cowboys have a clear and established identity at this point of being a tough, defensive minded team that is going to live and die by jump shooting on the offensive end for better or for worse. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboy defense can continue to be this disruptive against Big 12 guards.
Up next is a home contest against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on December 22nd. After that there will be no more cupcakes as Big 12 play begins.