Boynton’s young lineup has shown a propensity for slow starts so far this season and this was no exception.
The Cowboys were sloppy on the offensive end of the court and lacked energy, but somehow led 40-34 at halftime over a Wichita State team dealing with an interim head coach and the departure of Gregg Marshall, not to mention getting most of their team back for the first time this season.
Nobody on the OSU side of the contest seemed to want to take charge. Isaac Likekele did his usual stat-stuffing but that was about it. Rondel Walker, who was NOT the 6th man this afternoon, led the Cowboys in scoring at halftime. Cade Cunningham was EXTREMELY quiet, struggling to find any rhythm in the offense, ending up with 10 pts and zero trips to the line.
Boynton played with the starting lineup, holding out Kalib Boone in favor of Bernard Kouma. The infamous John Higgins was part of the two-person officiating crew due to the third ref not passing covid testing protocols. I have to say, they were only kind of bad, not unbelievably bad. Coach Mike worked in the usual deep rotation.
Although OSU has dealt with two consecutive games of teams/players going unconscious from behind the arc, this game saw the abysmal shooting from deep. The two squads were a combined 12-52 (23%) from 3pt range, and the Shockers were 1-14 in the 2nd half. Keylan Boone hit the first shot of that game which was a 3 by at least a few feet, but it wasn’t called a 3 until about 5 minutes later. Tyson Etienne was tough early but cooled off soon enough.
Cunningham was only 4-11 from the floor with 4 turnovers and looked totally human, except when he didn’t...
Cade Cunningham is no joke. League Him. (via @OSUMBB) pic.twitter.com/vgavLOgKiC— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 12, 2020
With a four-second difference between the shot clock and the game clock, Cade, who had only taken only one other shot in the 2nd half, calmly pulled up for a 3 that softly curled into the back of the basket to give the Cowboys a three-point lead with about nine seconds left.
Wichita State was not able to get up a credible effort and OSU walked away with a road win despite probably their poorest overall performance this season.
They were outshot from the line (17-22 vs 10-16) had more turnovers (15 vs 12), but shot better from the floor (41.7% vs 36.2%, seven made 3s vs 5 made 3s) and outrebounded the Shockers (43-33, 14 offensive).
Likekele led the way with 14-8-3 and Walker put up 13-2-1-1-1. Cunningham posted 10-6-3-1-1.
Next up for undefeated Oklahoma State (6-0) is conference play, with TCU coming to GIA on Wednesday, 12/16 at 9 pm ET on ESPN2.