(STILLWATER, Oklahoma / October 31, 2017) - Mike Boynton will coach his Oklahoma State Cowboys for the first time when Arkansas-Monticello visits Gallagher-Iba Arena at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Cowboys are coming off a 20-win season that included the program's fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons. OSU boasted the nation's most efficient offense in 2017, but lost three of its top four leading scorers to graduation and the NBA.
The matchup between the Cowboys and Boll Weevils will air on Fox-Plus at 7 p.m. Central. Mike Wolfe, Bryndon Manzer and Allison Gappa will handle the on-air duties. As always, Dave Hunziker and John Holcomb will have the Cowboy Radio Network call from the historic white maple floor of GIA.
Boynton was one of the architects of last season’s NCAA Tournament squad for OSU, and plans to employ a similar up-tempo attack and high-pressure defense the Cowboys used last year. OSU’s offense in 2016-17 ranked as the nation’s most efficient according to KenPom, and broke the school record for points per game with 85.7. The Cowboys’ overall roster size jumped nearly two-thirds of an inch on average from last season, which gives OSU additional size on the perimeter to extend the defense.
Preseason All-Big 12 selection Jeffrey Carroll used a combination of size (6-6, 220), athleticism and shooting ability (44.4 3fg%) to become one of the nation’s premier wings last year, and will step into the spotlight for OSU this fall. As a junior, Carroll upped his scoring average by +9.3 points to 17.5 per game. That jump is second only in school history to Bryant “Big Country” Reeves (+11.4), and was the nation’s second largest jump by a power conference player last year (John Collins, Wake Forest: +11.9 ppg).
Carroll became just the fourth Big 12 player to ever finish in the top 10 in the league in scoring (3rd, 17.5 ppg), rebounding (8th, 6.6 rpg) and 3-point percentage (3rd, 44.4 3fg%), joining Georges Niang (ISU, 2015-16), Jordan Hamilton (Texas, 2010-11) and Kevin Durant (Texas, 2006-07). Those honors earned him first-team All-District honors from the NABC and second team All-Big 12 nods from the AP and the league’s coaches.
Jawun Evans will be a tough man to replace, but the Cowboys have a trio that hopes it's up to the task. Kendall Smith averaged 16.7 points and a Big West Conference-high 4.8 assists per game for Cal-State Northridge last season. The 6-3 point guard was an ESPN national top-100 recruit coming out of high school. Brandon Averette proved a capable backup to Evans last season, and averaged 5.2 points and 1.8 assists per game for OSU as a freshman. He shot 45.5 percent from 3-point and was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 12 for leading the Cowboys to a win at Tulsa. Zack Dawson, a freshman from Miami, Florida, was a four-star recruit that was named the No. 15 point guard in the country by ESPN.
With nine returners from last year's 23-7 squad, Arkansas-Monticello will open the season as the favorites in the Great American Conference, according to the league's preseason poll and multiple publications. In fact, UAM is ranked No. 20 by the DII Bulletin, a publication that also picked UAM to win the Great American Conference for a second straight season.
Cowboy Basketball Game Center
Opponent: Arkansas-Monticello (0-0, 0-0 GAC)
Date / Tipoff: Nov. 3, 2017 / 7 p.m. Central
Site: Gallagher-Iba Arena (Stillwater, Okla.)
Tickets: $5 at okstate.com/tickets or at 877-ALL-4-OSU
Series: OSU leads 1-0
Last: OSU 82 vs UAM 47 • Nov. 28, 1981 (Stillwater, Okla.)
TV: Fox-Plus (Mike Wolfe, Bryndon Manzer & Allison Gappa)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker & John Holcomb)
Satellite Radio: None
Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
Oklahoma State Game Notes