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Oklahoma State basketball: 3 takeaways from Cowboys' 67-64 win at Wichita State

WICHITA, Kansas — Oklahoma State superstar Cade Cunningham didn’t have his best offensive game.

But his 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds over Wichita State’s Dexter Dennis was just enough.

The trey lifted the Cowboys to a huge 67-64 road victory Saturday afternoon at Charles Koch Arena.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Crunch time

Cunningham hadn’t scored the entire second half.

But everybody knew he was getting the ball when it mattered most. He dribbled atop the key, crossed over and fired a 3-pointer over Dennis.

It rolled in and OSU had its best victory of the season.

Cunningham finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Isaac Likekele had 14 points and Rondel Walker pitched in 13 off the bench.

But it was the Cowboys’ ability to close in the final 1:35 that made the difference.

Clinging to a one-point lead, Bryce Williams made a free throw with 1 minute remaining. Wichita State’s Morris Udeze tied it with free throws and 34 seconds remaining.

That set up Cunningham’s heroics in a road setting that was still tough even with limited fans.

Three-point guard lineup

OSU backup point guard Avery Anderson III returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 28.

And it was a welcome sight for the Cowboys, especially with OSU coach Mike Boynton turning to a lineup featuring three point guards.

Anderson, Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele. 

It presented matchup problems for the Shockers when OSU showed its half-court sets.

But it also allowed OSU to really push the tempo.

With 5:14 remaining, Cunningham blocked a shot, Anderson got the rebound and pushed the ball for a finger-roll layup to complete a 6-0 run. The Cowboys held a 59-52 lead at the time and looked like they could pull away.

Lineup change

Boynton talked Thursday that a starting lineup change could happen to combat the Cowboys’ slow starts.

Boynton even said the change could be just to have a starter come off the bench 2 minutes into the game, similar to sharpshooter Thomas Dziagwa’s second-half role last season. 

Boynton made the change. It just wasn’t what anyone expected.

Junior college transfer Bernard Kouma started in place of sophomore Kalib Boone. It was Kouma’s first significant minutes for the Cowboys.

And it had mixed results.

Kouma did not score in 12 minutes. He didn’t even attempt a shot. He also dealt with foul trouble in the second half.

But Boynton was pleased with how Kouma's 12 minutes helped the offense get off to a good start.

Boone scored four points and grabbed three rebounds, but looked out of sorts when he first entered the game in the first half.

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Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›