Pokes Struggle Greatly Against Shockers; Lose 80-61 in GIA

Zach Lancaster

STILLWATER – It was a tale of two halves as Oklahoma State played well in the first, but struggled in the second as Wichita State just couldn’t seem to miss from anywhere on the court. At one point in the second half, the Shockers were shooting over 80 percent from both the field and from 3-point range as the Pokes fell 80-61.

"Credit to Wichita State,” said head coach Mike Boynton. “They came in and physically dominated us. It started early on the glass, specifically, but it was throughout. They played with an edge and a confidence that you come to expect from Coach Marshall and his group. We certainly did not respond the way necessary to have a chance in a game like this."

The loss marks the second-straight for the Cowboys, and their second of the season as they fall to 7-2. It also marked the second-straight game without starting point guard Isaac Likekele. Freshman Chris Harris picked up his second-straight start, also marking his second of the season.

The first half for the Cowboys was a solid one as it was Cameron McGriff leading the way. He had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor with six rebounds. It was a part of Oklahoma State’s 44 percent shooting from the floor. By the end of the game, McGriff and Lindy Waters led the Pokes with 10 and 11 points respectively.

The highlight of the game for the Cowboys came in a series early in which freshman point guard Avery Anderson got a steal on the far end of the court and hit a streaking McGriff for the ally-oop. It was impressive because McGriff came from roughly Hall of Fame Street for the connection.

The Cowboys then came back from an 11-point deficit in the first half to go into halftime trailing only seven, 38-31.

That’s when the wheels started to fall off for the Pokes. Wichita State started the second half jumping out to a 15-point lead, 50-35. They scored 12 quick points to start the half, compared to only four points by the Pokes on four free throws from Yor Anei.

But the Pokes problems only got worse from their as Anei would foul out with more than 10 minutes left to go in the half, the second-straight game in which the Cowboy big man struggled on the glass as he finished with just two rebounds.

As a team, the Cowboys were grossly outrebounded by Wichita State 42-31, and turned the ball over 18 times.

"I do believe that something positive later on may come from this,” said coach Boynton. “I can't really put my finger on what that is right now, but what I can say is that we have a room full of guys who will respond when their backs are against the walls. This isn't the first time, especially our older guys, have faced some challenges. They have always came back and fought the next time out. Right now I'm really just focused on how to get our guys to play with an edge again."

It’s finals week at Oklahoma State, so there aren’t any games scheduled for the upcoming week, and the practice slate looks to be diminished as well. But the Pokes take on a tough Houston team week from today, and there’s still a lot for this young team to learn, especially if Likekele is out again.

"Finals week is huge,” said coach Boynton. “Absolutely, without a doubt this is the most important thing we do here, is helping these guys get their degrees and put them in position to have success later on in life when basketball is over. Our schedule will be a little bit adjusted this week to give our guys ample time to study and prepare for finals, but I'm certainly from a coaching perspective looking forward to an opportunity to get them back on the court and try to figure out exactly how to make this team better."

Oklahoma State will be back in action next Sunday, Dec. 15 on the road in Houston against the Cougars. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN and tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. CT.