OSU basketball: 3 takeaways from Cowboys' 75-68 win at Texas-Arlington
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Cade Cunningham show debuted Wednesday afternoon.
And for the most part, it was as advertised.
He recorded his first-career double double to help Oklahoma State hold off Texas-Arlington for a 75-68 victory to open the season.
Here are three takeaways from the victory:
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Cade, Cade and more Cade
Cunningham got off to a slow start, missing his first four shots as he looked passive at times.
But when he got going, Texas-Arlington had no answer. Few teams might.
He finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists despite five turnovers.
At one stretch, Cunningham scored 12 of OSU’s last 22 points in a myriad of ways. He got to the basket. He hit smooth jumpers. He made 3-pointers.
And he appeared to get more aggressive as the game went along.
Take a look at this early play in the second half.
Cunningham makes a behind-the-back dribble in the lane to lead to an easy layup look easy.
Later, Cunningham disagreed with an official on a turnover. Cunningham’s response: He took the ball coast-to-coast for an overpowering layup.
Overall, it was hard not to be impressed by Cunningham.
Closer than expected
A young team opening on the road against a strong Sun Belt opponent can present problems.
And it did for the Cowboys.
At times, the defense struggled. The offense struggled.
That kept the game closer than many expected.
But OSU coach Mike Boynton wanted to test his young team. He should be pleased with their response to adversity.
The Cowboys committed 18 turnovers, made just 14 of 27 free throws and struggled from 3-point range (7 of 25).
Still, OSU built an 11-point lead in the second half. UTA still wouldn’t go away, battling back to take a two-point lead
From there, the Cowboys got big moments from various places.
Cunningham’s attacks. An Isaac Likekele 3-pointer, which has been an issue in past seasons. A deep 3-pointer from sharpshooter Ferron Flavors Jr.
UTA had an answer for OSU a lot of times. But the Cowboys responded.
Moncrieffe, Keylan’s big days
There was a lot to like with two of the Cowboys’ “bigs.”
Keylan Boone got the start at the 4 (if you want to label positions with a guard-heavy attack) and recorded his first career double double.
He finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, showing an improved feel for the game Boynton and others raved about in the preseason.
Then there was Canadian freshman Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe.
He was a bit of a question to some but he proved why Boynton and Co. fought hard to win his pledge. Moncrieffe came off the bench and didn’t look like a freshman.
He was aggressive, especially inside the paint. He had putbacks, including a big two-handed dunk in the second half. Ultimately, he finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Moncrieffe and Keylan also helped mask the absence of Kalib Boone, the Cowboys’ forward who battled foul issues throughout the day.