Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton wasn’t terribly concerned that his team missed their first 11 3-point attempts in Monday night’s season opener, figuring the law of averages would eventually take over.

Sure enough, the Cowboys made 6 of their next 13 and eventually opened up a 31-point second-half lead in a 77-66 home win over Texas-Arlington.

Oklahoma State will try to put together a more consistent effort Thursday night when it hosts Southern Illinois in another nonconference clash in Stillwater, Okla.

What Boynton found most encouraging about his team’s response to not making shots was that they didn’t let it affect their defense. The Cowboys did enough to take a 27-22 halftime lead, then erupted for a 28-2 run to start the second half.

“That’s not always easy to do,” Boynton said. “Especially early when you’re coming in and there’s expectations on individual guys and the team to perform on the floor. We were able to put it together for a good stretch in the second half and get some separation.”

Bryce Thompson scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Oklahoma State, which hit 11 of 14 shots to open the second half and went more than six minutes without missing in one stretch.

Meanwhile, the Salukis started their season with a 94-63 rout of Little Rock in Carbondale. Eleven players scored and four were in double figures as SIU sank 58.2 percent of its field goals, including 12 of 28 on 3-pointers.

Lance Jones and reserve Dalton Banks tallied 14 points each, while Marcus Domask added 11. Jawaun Newton, one of four players out of the transfer portal playing key roles for the Salukis, came off the bench to net 10.

SIU finished with a whopping 51 points off the bench and dominated the boards 48-25.

“Our bench gave us a huge lift throughout the game,” said coach Bryan Mullins. “Different guys stepped up through the game on both ends of the floor.”

The Salukis own a 4-2 lead in the all-time series, although the teams haven’t played in 14 years.

–Field Level Media