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PREVIEW: Oklahoma State vs. UTSA

After a painful defeat for the young Pokes on the road, they return home for Round Two versus Conference USA.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Kansas v Oklahoma State Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh. That was a forgettable Saturday for the Cowboy faithful. Luckily for Mike Boynton and the basketball squad, their painful loss was overshadowed by another heartbreaking Bedlam defeat on the gridiron.

One of the nice things about the basketball schedule is you don’t have to wait a full week to get a chance to cleanse the bitter taste of defeat. It also means this young Cowboy squad will need to rebound quick against their second straight Conference USA foe and third straight going back to last season.


Who: UTSA (0-2, 0-0 Conference USA)

Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena - Stillwater, Oklahoma

When: Wednesday November 10 - 7:00 p.m. CST

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Web Stream: Fox Sports Go

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network / TuneIn

Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com


Injury Report:

Oklahoma State:

  • Michael Cunningham: Questionable - Hamstring
  • Michael Weathers: Questionable - Disciplinary
  • Curtis Jones: Out - Ineligible through semester

Charlotte:

  • Jhivvan Jackson: Out - ACL

Projected Starters:

Player images from www.okstate.com

49ers: G Giovanni De Nicolao (Jr), G Keaton Wallace (So), F Nick Allen (Sr), F Atem Bior (Jr), F Byron Frohnen (Jr)


The Opponent:

Similar to the Cowboys (KenPom No. 70), UTSA (KenPom No. 177) is coming into this game still searching for their first win of the season. UTSA thus far has home losses to Division II St. Edwards and OSU’s Bedlam rival Oklahoma.

Last season, under the direction of third year coach Steve Henson, UTSA finished fifth in Conference USA and participated in the CIT on the way to a 20 win season. After being selected to finish fifth again in Conference USA, the Roadrunners were hoping to continue their momentum into the 2018-19 season. However, the departure of third leading scorer Deon Lyle (11.3 ppg) and an ACL tear in February to reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year and Preseason All-Conference USA selection Jhivvan Jackson (18.4 ppg) has left UTSA in search of answers. In their absence guards Giovanni De Nicolao (12.5 ppg, 9 rpg, 4 apg) and Keaton Wallace (15.5 ppg) and forward Nick Allen (15 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have done their best to compensate for the missing production.


Statistics:

ESPN

Three Things to Watch For:

1. Short Memory

The Cowboys relinquished a 24-point lead on Saturday with a painful ending to top it all off. Honestly, there’s no a painless way to blow a 24-point lead, but a controversial flagrant call has to be one of the worst.

The Pokes will need to learn from the experience and use it to grow, but it’s important that they don’t let the second half against Charlotte beat them twice.

2. Finishing the Fight

Going back to last year, the a disturbing trend of fading late in games has begun to emerge. Whether it’s due to focus, lack of scoring off the bench, or personnel management throughout the game, Mike Boynton’s preaching of discipline needs to start showing late in the second half of games ASAP.

This is one area where getting the transfer guards in the lineup will help immensely. Unfortunately, this part of the equation is can only be improved with time. The rest of the roster will have to find ways to step up in the meantime.

3. The Ol’ Barn

This is the home opener for the Pokes and this young emotional team could definitely benefit from a rocking GIA. The early returns on Boynton’s enthusiasm have been positive, as the exhibition drew greater attendance than every regular season non-conference game last year except for Wichita State.

Hopefully the Cowboys can get an injection of confidence from playing at home for a couple of games before going heading to Orlando to face some very tough competition.

Bonus: Remembering a Cowboy Legend

The Cowboys have faced UTSA nine times in the schools’ histories. Previous head coach and Oklahoma State alumnus Brooks Thompson led UTSA in six of those meetings. This will be the first time that UTSA has been on the schedule since the unexpected passing of the OSU basketball great. Rest in peace, Cowboy.

Twitter [@TravisBartels]

Brooks Thompson (July 19, 1970 - June 9, 2016)