Back on track, Oklahoma State preps for pesky Charleston

NCAA Basketball

Despite a home setback in the first week of the season, Oklahoma State is back on track and confident after a good tournament showing earlier this week.

After being upset at home by Oakland on Nov. 12, the Cowboys (4-1) are riding a three-game winning streak and will take that momentum into Monday night’s home tilt against Charleston.

In its last two times out on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oklahoma State won both of its contests in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase in Uncasville, Conn. — 80-58 over UMass Lowell and 74-68 over North Carolina State.

The win over the Atlantic Coast Conference team was particularly significant because of the competition the Wolfpack presented before conference play begins in the Big 12.

Kalib Boone got hot in the second half by tallying 18 of his 20 points — primarily in the paint — and Rondel Walker chipped in 16, including a pair of threes, and made all six of his free throws.

While the Cowboys shot just 38.7 percent from the field, their defense limited the opposition to 30.4 percent. They also owned a 44-39 advantage in rebounds, helping to hand the Wolfpack their first defeat.

The Cowboys’ depth was a major fact as they walloped the ACC school in bench scoring, 56-5.

Tyreek Smith produced 10 points, five rebounds and a block — earning the Texas Tech transfer game MVP honors.

“He is the perfect type of kid for our program,” said Cowboys coach Mike Boynton. “Low ego, a high appreciation and he just loves to help his teammates.”

As a double-digit home underdog Tuesday, the Cougars (3-1) nearly authored one of the season’s early upsets against No. 19 North Carolina in front of 5,203 boisterous fans.

After leading by 11 during the first half thanks to a sizzling start from long range, Charleston cooled off while UNC’s height and athleticism eventually made an impact and wore down the home side.

The 94-83 setback did not deter first-year coach Pat Kelsey, who led Winthrop to the NCAA Tournament last season.

“The last four games have shown we have a chance to be a really good team,” said Kelsey after Charleston’s 11th straight loss to a ranked opponent.

John Meeks and Brenden Tucker top Charleston by averaging 15 points per game. Long-range shooter Reyne Smith follows with 11.5 and has made 11 of 32 threes.

–Field Level Media

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