It didn’t take long for Oklahoma State senior guard Jeffrey Carroll to get back to last year’s form. The Big 12’s leading returning scorer struggled in his debut but bounced back with a career-high 29 points Tuesday for the Cowboys, who host Houston Baptist on Sunday.
Carroll, who averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds last year, was held out of the first three games as Oklahoma State conducted an internal review of the program. He came off the bench in two games at the Legends Classic and will likely move back to the starting lineup as non-conference play continues. “I don’t expect (Jeff) to have 30 points every night, but it gives us a different element that people normally don’t have to prepare for,” first-year coach Mike Boynton Jr. said Tuesday. The Huskies, who rank 10th nationally in offensive rebounds, are winless against Division I competition.
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ABOUT HOUSTON BAPTIST (1-4): Senior center Josh Ibarra leads the Huskies with 16.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, including 3.5 of the team’s 15.8 offensive boards. Freshmen David Caraher (15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Ian DuBose (13.6 points) also average double figures. The Huskies have allowed 93 or more points in their past three games and ranked 344th out of 351 team in scoring defense (91.8 points).
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (4-1): Carroll’s 16.5-point average through two games gives the Cowboys five players averaging double figures. Sophomore guard Brandon Averette adds 11.2 points and a team-high 4.4 assists off the bench -- with an 18-1 assist-to-turnover ratio at home -- while graduate transfer Kendall Smith adds 10.4 points and 3.6 assists. The Cowboys’ aggressive defense has forced at least 12 turnovers in each game while holding opponents to 59.8 points and a 25.3 percent clip from the 3-point line.
1. Oklahoma State sophomore Thomas Dziagwa is 16-of-29 from the 3-point line while the rest of the team is shooting 23.9 percent from the arc.
2. Houston Baptist guards Will Gates, Jr., (8.0 points) and Jalon Gates (9.8 points) are one of 30 sets of brothers playing together at the Division I level.
3. Oklahoma State has a 56-8 all-time record against current members of the Southland Conference, including 17 straight wins.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 90, Houston Baptist 66