Oklahoma State needs to avoid overlooking winless Oakland

NCAA Basketball

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton has been saying for weeks that because his team is so young and inexperienced, he really does not know much about the 2020-21 Cowboys.

On Tuesday, he learned his team could fall behind early and then come back to beat a highly regarded Marquette team, 70-62 — and on the road yet.

On Saturday, Boynton will find out if his players can put aside the satisfaction of the Marquette victory and beat a team that the Cowboys (3-0) absolutely are expected to beat — and at home yet.

That team is the Oakland University of the Horizon Conference. The Golden Grizzlies are 0-5 on the season and coming off a 93-50 loss at Purdue.

“At this time of the year, I don’t really know this (Oklahoma State) team that well,” Boynton said after the Marquette win.

What he found out on Tuesday was that against the Golden Eagles, “We played a big-time, high-level team, got down (in the first half) and didn’t flinch (in the second half).”

What he also found out was that his team is much more than just Cade Cunningham, a freshman who is one of most highly rated players in the country and who could wind up as a first-round NBA draft choice next year.

Cunningham had 15 points and six rebounds, but he got plenty of help from fellow freshman Rondell Walker (16 points) and senior Bryce Williams (13 points) off the bench.

“We can play with anybody,” Williams said. “Big or small.”

On Saturday, it will be small.

It’s been a tough year for Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies had their best moment when they lost in overtime to then-No. 25 Michigan, 81-71, on Nov. 29.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe was conducting a postgame interview after the Purdue defeat when the stat sheet he was reading from fell from his hand.

“Looked like us in the second half,” he said of the drop. “You lose by 43 I guess it was and to sit here and say I’m not upset, I’m not. I feel fine. I’m glad the game’s over, I’m glad to go home, I’m glad we get to have a couple practices and I’m glad we get to play again.”

The Golden Grizzlies have been led by Jalen Moore, who has averaged 15.2 points per game. Kampe knows he’ll need more than Moore against Oklahoma State.

“It ain’t getting any easier. Oklahoma State and Michigan State,” Kampe said. “I can’t wait. I’m enthused and think great things are going to happen.”

–Field Level Media

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