Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton Jr. is trying to establish a deep team that can beat opponents in a variety of ways in his first year in Stillwater. Coming off a 100-point effort against Houston Baptist, the Cowboys will look for a sixth win in seven games when they host Austin Peay on Wednesday in the second of four consecutive home games.
Through the season’s first month, four of the top five scorers for Oklahoma State come off the bench, the offense ranks 19th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.52) and shoots 80.5 percent from the line while the defense ranks 35th in points allowed (62.2 per game) and yields just 26.8-percent shooting from 3-point territory - 23rd best in the nation. ”We have a very versatile team. One of the biggest strengths of this team is the quality of our depth,” Boynton said after the latest victory. “There are guys that can come off the bench and obviously with a guy like Jeffrey Carroll who is still coming off the bench, we have a guy who can really help offensively. And the same goes for (backup point guard) Brandon Averette.” Carroll, who missed the first three games during an investigation into his amateur status, leads the team in scoring, while Averette ranks third in the Big 12 and 15th in the NCAA in assists/turnover ratio (5.0). Austin Peay, which has been forced to replace all five starters from a team that finished 11-19 a season ago and doesn’t have a starter over 6-7, is coming off an 86-61 victory against Miami (Oh) on Sunday - its first win over a Division I school this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Oklahoma-Plus
ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY (3-3): The Governors’ first two games against Power-5 conference teams did not go well, losing by a combined 63 points to Vanderbilt and No. 15 Virginia, and their previous wins this season were over Division II foe Oakland City and NAIA program Bethel (Tenn.). Austin Peay relies on pressure defense, ranking ninth nationally in turnovers forced (20.2) and 13th in steals (10.2). Dayton Gumm leads the team in scoring at 13.8 points and fellow freshman guard Terry Taylor chips in 13.5 points to go along with seven rebounds per game and already has a pair of double-doubles this season.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (5-1): In the 101-74 win over Houston Baptist on Sunday, 6-4 guard Thomas Dziagwa had a career-high 16 points off the bench, fellow sophomore Cameron McGriff had a career-high 14 points and grad transfer Kendall Smith had 16 points and five assists. Carroll is averaging 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 22.7 minutes per game, while Smith delivers 11.3 points and Averette 10.8. One area that needs improvement is 3-point shooting; Dziagwa is 20-of-36 from 3-point territory (43.8 percent) while the rest of the team is just 32-of-124 (25.8).
1. The Cowboys won the only other meeting between the teams 81-58 on Nov. 17, 2001.
2. Oklahoma State has never lost to a current member of the Ohio Valley Conference, although it is a small sample size. OSU is 7-0 all-time against the current OVC lineup.
3. Against Houston Baptist, the Cowboys opened the game by making 24 free throws in a row, which set a new Big 12 record. They finished 31-of-33 for the game, which is the 24th-best outing in NCAA history and the second-best performance in school history (min. 30 makes).
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 96, Austin Peay 68