Oklahoma State bounced back with a win on Monday night in its second game without star guard Cade Cunningham.
The Cowboys (10-4, 4-4) took down Iowa State 81-60 in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones were dealing with COVID-19 issues of their own, missing seven players in the loss.
It was a slow start for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys trailed 13-2 five minutes into the game. Then Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe got going. Back-to-back buckets from the freshman cut the lead to 13-6. The Cowboys wouldn’t lead until an Issac Likekele layup with 7:36 remaining in the first half gave OSU a 24-23 lead. Oklahoma State wouldn’t relinquish that lead for the rest of the game.
The most encouraging sign of the game came in the final 11 minutes. The Cowboys have really struggled down the stretch of games recently, and Iowa State cut a 12-point lead down to 57-50 with 9:14 remaining in the game. OSU finished the last nine minutes on a 24-10 run.
Moncrieffe was the star for Oklahoma State, setting a career high with 22 points on the night and 12 rebounds for another double-double. Rondel Walker finished with 20 points and three steals off the bench. The two freshmen accounted for just more than half of OSU’s points. Kalib Boone was also impressive with an efficient 7-7 from the floor for 15 points and eight rebounds.
Avery Anderson III struggled early on from the floor but was a catalyst for the Pokes down the stretch. Anderson finished with 11 points on 5-10 shooting and five assists, but also five turnovers.
Turnovers were a theme for the Cowboys on Monday night. Oklahoma State turned the ball over 24 times against a decimated Iowa State squad that dropped to 0-6 in conference play. That’s not to mention that the Cyclones played zone defense for a good majority of the game.
The other discouraging stat of the night was 42 percent from the free throw line. Walker and Bryce Williams both shot 2-5 from the line. Moncrieffe was 0-2 from the line. OSU has to get better from the free throw line as the season goes on.
The Cowboys host Arkansas in the Big 12- SEC Challenge on Saturday before traveling to Fort Worth, Texas to take on a TCU team that beat OSU 77-76 to open conference play. Oklahoma State needs to win each of its upcoming games. After facing TCU, six of OSU’s final eight games will come against ranked teams, including the final four games. The last two games will be a home-and-home series with No. 24 Oklahoma.