OSU rolls past Mississippi Valley State 83-62
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) —
Oklahoma State wasn’t worried about looking past an inferior opponent to its next game, against No. 8 Wichita State.
That was evident on Sunday, as Kendall Smith scored 14 points and added five assists to help Oklahoma State cruise to an 83-62 victory over winless Mississippi Valley State.
“It’s a sign of maturity on our team’s part,” said OSU coach Mike Boynton. “We talk about it every single day, almost ad nauseum, they probably get tired of me saying it — every game is the biggest game for us. And it’s true. We never know. This could have been the last game for somebody, so I try to let these guys understand, ‘Don’t take it for granted.’”
Tavarius Shine scored 13 points and Cameron McGriff had 11 points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma State (7-1). The Cowboys won their fourth straight contest overall and their 15th straight non-conference home game dating back to Dec. 2015.
Five different Cowboys scored double-digit points. One game after connecting on 11 3-pointers, Oklahoma State sank 11 (on 29 attempts) in this one, marking the third straight game to shoot at least 10 and the fifth time this season.
“It’s been a tribute to our ball movement, unselfishness, and our ability to understand that every night can literally be somebody else’s opportunity to be our leading scorer,” said Boynton, whose team has had five different scoring leaders in eight games. “That’s really who this team is, to be honest. We don’t have one dominant player in that regard, but we have a lot of really good players, that if they play together, which they have to this point, can continue to have success.”
Jordan Evans scored 16 points for Mississippi Valley State (0-8). The Delta Devils have yet to play a home game this season and won’t until the 14th contest, their Southwest Conference opener on Jan. 1.
The Delta Devils actually outscored Oklahoma State in bench points, 51-32.
Mississippi Valley State: Considering they entered the contest ranking 350th out of 351 Division I teams in scoring with 57.9 points per game, the Delta Devils acquitted themselves pretty well, surpassing season averages in several key categories. They shot 41.9 percent from the floor (26 of 62), just over their season average of 37.5 percent, which ranked 343rd in the nation coming in. They also grabbed 34 rebounds, to 35 from Oklahoma State, including a 17-16 edge in the first half. The entered the day averaging 30.7 rebounds (332nd in the nation).
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys continued to thrive using their fast-paced, pressure defense, forcing a season-high 21 turnovers, four days after inducing 20 in their previous outing against Austin Peay. Oklahoma State also recorded a season-high 13 steals, led by three each from McGriff and Mitchell Solomon. And once again, the Cowboys did not have any one dominant player but won utilizing their depth, as eight players scored as many as five points and nine different guys played at least 16 minutes, with no one seeing more action than McGriff’s 27.
Oklahoma State breezed out to a 19-4 lead over the contest’s first six minutes, shooting 80 percent (8 for 10) over that span. The Cowboys suddenly went cold, though, missing their next six shots as Mississippi Valley State went on an 8-0 run to pull to within seven with 9:22 left in the first half. Moments later, Gemaal Davis’ free throw pulled the Delta Devils to within 26-17 with 7:09 left in the half. That is as close as they would come, though, as Oklahoma State outscored them 19-10 the rest of the half to take a 45-27 advantage into the break.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
After shooting 5 for 5 from the floor for 11 points, while also adding six rebounds to go along with his three steals, Solomon has made 14 consecutive shots over the last three games. He was 5 for 5 for 10 points on Nov. 26 against Houston Baptist and 4 for 4 for eight points last Wednesday against Austin Peay. In this one, he also sank his first 3-pointer since the 2015-16 season. “I’m feeling good,” said Solomon, a 6-foot-9 senior who averaged 5.5 points in 32 games last season. “I’m just trying to go out there and get some points, take some scoring pressure off our wings, and help our team in an area that I may not have helped as much in the past.”
Mississippi Valley State: The Delta Devils are off for 10 days before traveling out to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne on Wed., Dec. 13 — their ninth straight road game.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys complete a four-game homestand next Saturday when they face their toughest foe of the season so far, No. 8 Wichita State.