After two losses to ranked opponents this season, Oklahoma State pulled off a big victory Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic, scoring the winning points with 5.4 seconds left to hand then-No. 19 Florida State its first loss of the season, 71-70. The Cowboys have a short turnaround before battling state rival Tulsa on Tuesday night in the Golden Hurricane’s final tuneup before beginning American Athletic Conference play.
The Cowboys did it with defense against Florida State, forcing a Seminoles team that came in averaging just 13 turnovers per game to 22 total, the fourth straight game that Oklahoma State produced at least 19. “We take a lot of pride in our defense,” Oklahoma State senior forward Mitchell Solomon said afterward. “Making plays, altering players, speeding guys up, different things, making them play out of their comfort zone. We schemed a lot this game knowing that they had some good guards so we knew we had to get it out of their hands and pressure them when they did have it. Today, it (our defense) came up big for us and we were able to score points. That’s a big part of our game.” Senior forward Jeffrey Carroll was also a big part of the win, capturing game MVP honors with 23 points in his first start of the season to give him 1,008 for his career, the 41st player in Oklahoma State history to reach 1,000 points. The Golden Hurricane have their own scoring weapon in Junior Etou, who scored 24 points in their 80-66 win over Manhattan on Saturday for his fifth game this season of at least 20 points, and he is averaging 18.1 points per game, fourth in The American through the weekend.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT TULSA (7-4): Frank Haith’s Golden Hurricane have won three straight and five of the last six, with the team shooting at least 45 percent from the floor in four of those wins and eight contests overall for the season. Led by Etou’s 6.5 boards per game, Tulsa has taken charge of the boards of late, outrebounding its last five opponents after being outrebounded in five of its first six games. Sterling Taplin ranks second to Etou with 11.8 points per game, while freshman Elijah Joiner is second with 15 3-pointers on 48.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (8-2): While Carroll took home game MVP honors from the Orange Bowl Classic, Solomon came up big in the final seconds, scoring the winning points on a tip-in and then drew a subsequent charge on the other end to seal the win in his first career double-double outing as he finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Oklahoma State was outrebounded 41-37 by Florida State but the Cowboys hit 80 percent of their free throws to remain one of the nation’s best at 79.4 percent for the season. Yankuba Sima, a highly regarded transfer from St. John‘s, made his debut on Saturday, finishing with five points and three rebounds.
1. Oklahoma State’s win over Florida State ended its seven-game losing streak to ranked teams.
2. Tulsa won its last visit to Oklahoma State 66-56 on Dec. 2, 2015 - its first win in Stillwater since 1985 - but the Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Golden Hurricane 73-38.
3. Tulsa has scored at least 77 points seven times this season.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 77, Tulsa 74