NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Oklahoma State basketball: 3 takeaways from Cowboys' win at Iowa State

Oklahoma State was without its superstar, but still got a bounce-back win.

The Cowboys beat Iowa State 81-60 late Monday night in Ames, Iowa, getting huge performances from a pair of freshmen and dominating inside the paint to rebound from Saturday’s loss to No. 2-ranked Baylor.

And neither of those freshmen was Cade Cunningham, who missed his second straight game. Rondel Walker returned and dominated. Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and Kalib Boone continued to emerge.

OSU is now 1-1 without Cunningham, but back to 4-4 in Big 12 play. The Cowboys get a break from conference play Saturday when they host SEC foe Arkansas.

Here are three takeaways from the win over the Cyclones, who remain winless in conference play:

Monsters in the paint

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton initially went with a bigger lineup Saturday to survive coming off a week-long pause in team activities.

But expect Moncrieffe and Boone to play together more often.

The duo combined for 37 points and 20 rebounds, with Moncrieffe posting career highs in points (22) and rebounds (12) for his second straight double double. Boone shot a sparkling 7 of 7.

“Surviving has shown us that maybe we don’t have to play small all the time to be successful,” Boynton said. “And maybe we don’t have to rely on our point guards to dominate the glass and post up all the time.

“Part of it is KB is playing better and MA, the game is slowing down for him.”

Their play against an undersized and undermanned Cyclones team was the huge difference.

The Cowboys out-rebounded Iowa State 49-19, including 13 offensive rebounds. They had 18 second-chance points, while the Cyclones had four. OSU also had 58 points inside the paint and Iowa State just 22.

“When teams are short-handed like this, we can get anything we want really,” Moncrieffe said. “We just gotta be dominant down there and we gotta finish. When teams are small like that, we just gotta play through our bigs.”

Moncrieffe was particularly impressive. He nearly had his double double by halftime, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the half.

“I’m just doing what my team needs me to do,” Moncrieffe said. “Cade’s not here, ‘Del’s gone last game, everybody’s banged up, so I’ve just gotta step up.”

And not to be overlooked, Bernard Kouma had his most impactful game, playing 16 minutes while scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds.

Welcome back, Rondel

Boynton did not expect much from Walker.

The main expectation was to provide depth. Walker had barely practice since the COVID-19 pause and he missed Saturday’s game with what the team said was an arm injury.

So call 20 points, three rebounds, an assist and three steals a pleasant surprise. 

“I certainly didn’t expect him to go out there and score 20 points, but I was glad he did,” Boynton said.

Walker declined to address his arm injury following the game.

“I felt good enough to play, so that was really all that matters today,” Walker said.

The Putnam West product was his usual burst of energy off the bench. OSU fell behind 13-2 early, looking lackadaisical. 

But Walker was the spark.

The most impressive part for Walker was his 3-point shooting. He made four — three from the right corner.

That spot has become a favorite of Walker’s.

“I used to couldn't be able to shoot the corners, to be honest,” Walker said. “That was my hardest shooting spot. Moving into college, that’s where most of the shots ended up being. I had to really adapt to the corner shot.”

A sloppy night

For everything that went right, turnovers were a huge problem for the Cowboys.

They committed a season-high 24 and a good amount were unforced. 

And despite shooting 59.3% overall, the turnovers allowed Iowa State to hang around longer than it probably should have with its roster limits. 

“We tried to play fast,” Moncrieffe said. “I feel like we got a little careless at times too today. We might have taken our foot off the gas pedal a little bit. I think we played sped up a little at times.”

OSU cleaned it up at times and then its overall talent and depth took over, overshadowing the sloppiness.

“The gameplan was to play fast and to play smart,” Walker said. “I feel like we played one of the two.”

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
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 ›