On point without 3-pointers: OSU dominates West Virginia

Well into the second half, Oklahoma State had yet to make a 3-pointer.

It did not matter. The Cowboys dominated.

OSU beat the West Virginia Mountaineers 81-58 on Saturday afternoon in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

When junior guard Keylan Boone made OSU’s first 3-pointer of the game, a swish from the corner of the court by the Cowboy bench, with 10:39 remaining, the game was already essentially decided.

OSU finished with three 3-pointers, but won because they dominated the Mountaineers in the lane. The Cowboys had 40 points in the paint and 48 rebounds, doubling West Virginia’s total of 24.

OSU coach Mike Boynton said getting good interior play was a focus for the Cowboys (12-12, 5-7 Big 12) after TCU pushed them around in their previous game.

“To be able to out rebound (West Virginia) the way we did and be able to dominate the game inside was a testament to their competitive response,” Boynton said.

To galvanize an increase in intensity against West Virginia (14-10, 3-8), Boynton started sophomore forward Tyreek Smith. A transfer from Texas Tech, Smith has taken on a bigger role for OSU as the season has gone on.

“As much as anybody on our team, Tyreek has earned the opportunity to play more,” Boynton said. “To play through some mistakes and make an impact on our team. He’s answered every challenge that we’ve thrown at him.”

Moussa Cisse is looking to kill a narrative.

Smith, who had never started a collegiate game, scored six points and had three rebounds.

“I was kind of nervous, I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. “It was fun though. I liked the opportunity. Hope I get more. I appreciate the opportunity.”

Smith often shared the court with sophomore forward Moussa Cisse, OSU’s primary post player. Cisse, who had 18 points, including four dunks, and 10 rebounds, was an active presence in the paint offensively and defensively.

“Our bigs, me, (Kalib Boone) and (Smith), we do a good job of running the floor,” Cisse said. “That gives our guards the space to get in the paint. We’ve got to keep pushing.”

Cowboy guards junior Avery Anderson and sophomore Bryce Thompson used the scoring opportunities OSU’s forwards created. Anderson scored 18 and Thompson scored 13, many of which were fast break opportunities set up by forcing a turnover or a block.

“What it shows me is when we’re committed on the defensive end we have a chance to beat anybody,” Boynton said. “And sometimes that leads to easier baskets.”

The Cowboys held senior West Virginia guard Taz Sherman, who averaged a team-high 18.7 points per game entering the game, to 12 points on 4 of 16 shooting.

Boynton was happy with his team’s effort defensively, especially considering OSU’s inability to reach the postseason because of an NCAA ban.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Boynton said. “It’s well documented the struggles we had. The circumstances we’ve played under all year. But they continue to show great character in difficult moments.”


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