Cowboys Win Season Opener Over UT Arlington Behind Solid Debut From Cunningham
Oklahoma State opened up the 2020-2021 season today as they traveled to Arlington, Texas, to take on the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks. This game marks the start of the fourth season Mike Boynton has been the head coach of the Cowboys as well as the beginning of the Cade Cunningham era.
And Cade Cunningham did not disappoint.
The Cowboys played a tough game against the Mavericks, coming out on top 75-68.
The first 8 minutes of the game were a bit slow for the Cowboys as they struggled from beyond the arc and gave up the ball a little too much with 7 turnovers. The Cowboys started the game 1/11 shooting and 0/9 from the 3 point line.
Just as the ESPN commentators said they hoped to see Cade Cunningham take over the game offensively, they saw exactly that.
From that point, Cunningham went 5/8 shooting, 2/4 from the 3 point line, good for 12 points in the 1st half. The team finished the half 14/36 shooting for 32 points.
The Cowboy defense started and remained strong, only allowing 27 points in the half on 11/36 shooting.
The second half, just like the first, saw a slow start for the Cowboys, one full of turnovers on top of that, 10 to be exact. Cade Cunningham was the leading scorer in the second half for the Cowboys with 9 points. Isaac Likekele and Keylan Boone were just behind him with 8 points
Cunningham, in his first collegiate game, earned a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He also added 3 assists. Keylan Boone had his best career game to date as he notched his first career double-doubles finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
After the game, Cunningham met with the media to discuss his debut. "I think me personally, I know I competed hard. Ive got to take care of the ball a little better than what I did, but other than that, just my effort and my competitiveness, I think that was the best thing for me."
"As a team, we played hard and played together. I think we can get a lot better, but it's the first game, we haven't played in a long time and it's our first time all playing together," Cunningham added.
Mike Boynton told the media after the game that he thought Cunningham played "good but he certainly wasn't his best." He added he would grade Cade's performance somewhere between a C+ and a B-."
Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe proved himself one of the many young stars on this team, totaling 11 point and 7 rebounds, coming up clutch for the Cowboys in the paint several times.
Not only was this Cade Cunningham's first collegiate game, it is also the first game he has played under COVID-19 protocols, limited fans and social distancing.
"It was definitely different, UTA actually did a pretty good job, their fans were pretty loud in there, we could definitely hear them. It was definitely different not seeing a packed gym, but at the end of the day, we're here to play basketball and we finally got to do that."
With the win, the Cowboys move to 1-0 on the young season and will now get ready to play Texas Southern on Saturday as part of a Football-Basketball double header in Stillwater.