Yor Anei blocked eight shots, including two in the final minute, to help Oklahoma State hold off visiting Oral Roberts 80-75 on Wednesday night in both teams’ season opener in Stillwater, Okla.
Anei barely missed a triple-double, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but the Cowboys couldn’t exhale until Cameron McGriff canned two foul shots with 14.3 seconds left for a four-point lead. Isaac Likekele added a free throw with 9.9 seconds remaining to make it 78-73. Thomas Dziagwa salted it away with two foul shots with 1.3 ticks left.
Five players finished in double figures for Oklahoma State, paced by Likekele with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Lindy Waters added 15 points, Keylan Boone scored 11 off the bench and McGriff tallied 10, all at the foul line.
Deondre Burns scored a game-high 21 points for the Golden Eagles, picked to finish third in the Summit League. Emmanuel Nzekwesi contributed a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double, and Max Abmas scored 14 points.
Neither team shot better than 37.7 percent from the field in a sloppy, foul-filled affair. The teams combined for 38 turnovers, 21 by the Cowboys, and 50 fouls. The officials administered a whopping 60 free throws, with Oklahoma State going 26 of 34 and Oral Roberts sinking 20 of 26.
Oklahoma State never trailed, but never could shake Oral Roberts. The Cowboys established a 20-10 lead at the 11:15 mark of the first half when Boone stroked a 3-pointer from the right wing in transition, but the double-figure margin didn’t last long.
The Golden Eagles found traction with a 12-5 burst, pulling within 25-22 when Burns canned a pullup jumper off a turnover. Oklahoma State responded by scoring the next nine points, upping the advantage to 34-22 on Avery Anderson’s transition layup.
Anei canned two free throws off an offensive rebound with four seconds remaining, enabling the Cowboys to take a 39-30 lead to the locker room at halftime.’
—Field Level Media