STILLWATER, Okla. — After scoring just 55 and 73 points in their previous two games, Oklahoma State bounced back in a big way offensively on Sunday.
Kendall Smith scored 16 points with five assists and Thomas Dziagwa had a career-high 16 points as Oklahoma State rolled to a 101-74 victory over Houston Baptist.
Cameron McGriff added a career-high 14 points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma State (5-1), which started a four-game homestand.
After shooting just 29.9 percent in a 72-55 loss to No. 16 Texas A&M last Monday and 37.9 percent in a 73-67 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Cowboys produced their top offensive output of the season, both in points and shooting percentage (48.4 percent). Five players scored in double-digits and two more had nine.
“Much better performance today than we had last week,” said OSU coach Mike Boynton. “We made a conscious effort to play faster today. We’ve been bogged down a little bit (offensively), I’m not sure why. It’s certainly something I’ve been trying to study over the first five games. I think today we got out in transition better and I think we were able to get some easy baskets.”
Jalon Gates scored 13 points – all in the second half – and Josh Ibarra had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies (1-5), who lost their fourth straight contest.
“I just kept telling my guys to keep playing hard,” said HBU coach Ron Cottrell. “These are growing experiences for our team. We’re a young team. You’re going to be put in adverse situations on the road and you’re going to have to figure out a way to find a way to compete.”
This marked the first game this season that Oklahoma State has actually had its full lineup to draw from. Star junior Jeffrey Carroll played his third game of the year, contributing 13 points and eight rebounds, after missing the first three due to an NCAA investigation, while junior guard Davon Dillard made his first appearance. Dillard, who sat out the first five contests due to undisclosed disciplinary reasons, scored nine points and added three rebounds in 13 minutes.
“It feels good when you start to see the puzzle come together a little bit,” said Boynton, who also noted that Yankuba Sima, a transfer from St. John’s, won’t be eligible to play until the semester break. “We got one guy still out, but Davon hadn’t played and really hadn’t practiced that much either, so you could see a lot of his rust out there in the second half.”
Houston Baptist: The Huskies didn’t look like a one-win team from a smaller conference going against a power-five school for much of the night. They played a determined game and hung with Oklahoma State in the first half, pulling to within 20-19 on Will Gates’ layup with 9:06 left. They stayed within 10 points until the final four minutes of the first half, but after that, fell hopelessly behind. But they displayed a strong foundation early on if they can sustain it.
Oklahoma State: It took a while for the Cowboys to get going, not really taking over the contest until deep into the first half. But once they did find their rhythm, they excelled on defense, spread the ball around on offense, and overall controlled the tempo of the game. They had 61 points off the bench.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Oklahoma State was nearly perfect on free throws in the opening half, making their first 24 shots from the line until Brandon Averette bounced one off the rim with 25.3 seconds left. That set a new Big 12 record for most free throws in a row. HBU had just three free throws in the first half, making two of them. Overall, the Cowboys were 31 for 33, while the Huskies ended up 15 for 24 (62.5 percent). “Free throws are huge,” said Dziagwa, who made all four of his. “We work on them every day in practice. We run if we don’t make them, so coach has made it pivotal for us to work on our free throws.”
When Chukuka Emili sank a 3-pointer from right corner with 5:23 remaining in the opening half, the Huskies trailed just 33-26. But Oklahoma State pretty much took over the game after that, closing the half on a 19-4 run to take a 22-point lead into the break. HBU would not get closer than 18 the rest of the way.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies finally return home for the first time since Nov. 14 to face Dallas Christian on Tuesday.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys remain home for the second of four straight home games, taking on Austin Peay on Wednesday.