Fans brought the rowdy back to Gallagher-Iba Arena to watch Brad Underwood coach his first game for the Cowboys. The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team beat Campbell 102-65 in Stillwater on Friday night.
“One of the most encouraging things for me tonight was our crowd,” Underwood said. “I thought our students were fabulous. I was excited to see them here and I could not be any more pleased with our fans.”
The Pokes got off to a slow start, even trailing by four points midway through the first half, but then Jawun Evans took over. Evans got fouled on back-to-back possessions, making both shots and then his free throws.
“I was just taking what they gave me,” Evans said. ‘My teammates put me in great positions.”
Fueled by Evans, OSU closed the first half on a 26-9 run.
Evans, who finished with 34 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals, said he felt that he needed to take over when he saw the Cowboys were down.
“I see we were just kind of down a little bit and so I was just trying to pick us up and get us rolling,” Evans said.
Starters Leyton Hammonds, Mitchell Solomon and Tavarius Shine combined for 1 point. To fill that void was freshman Cameron McGriff. He had only 5 points but was a key defender and finished with 13 rebounds.
“He was terrific after his first little stint,” Underwood said. “Cam can be that guy. Cam can be that elite rebounder every single night. He is so special and so talented.”
McGriff said he feels like energy is the one thing he can bring every game. “I just try to come in and bring a lot of energy to the game and hype my teammates up to get everybody going.”
Campbell returned three starters this year, including Chris Clemons who was the Big South Freshman of the Year. Clemons led the Camels with 17 points and 5 rebounds.
“Clemons is a tremendous player, he is a tremendous talent,” Underwood said. “I mean, you talk about a special athlete.”
The victory gives Underwood his first as coach of the Cowboys, and the 90th of his career.
“You guys will find with me I am a pretty emotional person,” Underwood said. “I thought a lot today about walking into that building for the first time when it really counts and how much that means to me. I have had a long journey, but the journey has made this special.”
The Cowboys are back in action Monday night against Central Arkansas.