Brad Underwood wanted to see what his team was made of after suffering a 32-point loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night. The Oklahoma State head coach got the answer he wanted Wednesday as the Cowboys routed Georgetown 97-70 in the third-place game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
The Cowboys improve to 5-1, while the Hoyas fall to 2-4.
The first-year Cowboys head coach had to be wondering about his team when Georgetown jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. But Underwood didn’t see what he was expecting from his starters so he went to his bench, specifically freshmen Brandon Averette, Thomas Dziagwa and Cameron McGriff.
Those three freshmen combined for 21 points in the first half, and the Cowboys defensive pressure was too much for the Hoyas. Lindy Waters’ basket pulled the Cowboys within 8-2 with 16:46 showing on the clock, and over the next 10-plus minutes OSU outscored Georgetown 33-13.
Dziagwa (8 points), McGriff (7) and Averette (6) were a big part of that run as the Cowboys pushed the lead to 50-35 at halftime.
“Everybody is going to play with a different level of emotion to start the game and we were really a step slow, maybe a little cautious,” Underwood said. “I don’t know what the right word was but we got tremendous, tremendous bench play.
“I’m really proud of this group. We got beat by (North Carolina) the best team in the country last night, and we got it handed to us in a way that wasn’t much fun for anybody. I told them today, ‘we’re going to find out what our character is.’ (Georgetown is) number 25 in the country, I think they’re ranked number 25 in the country, and to get a 30-point win. And to be honest, we got it on a night when Jawun (Evans) didn’t play great.
“But I thought our defensive intensity (was great). I look for two things: 11 assists for them, (and) 28 turnovers. They took 47 field-goal attempts; we took 71. That’s a pretty good night for us.
The Cowboys took control of the game when the three freshmen entered the game early in the first half, and it was evident in the halftime stat sheet.
Georgetown was 12-of-27 shooting with 14 turnovers, and the Cowboys had 11 steals, 18 points off turnovers and 10 second-chance points. OSU finished with a school record 19 steals.
The Cowboys were led in the first half by Evans (10 points), Jeffrey Carroll (8), Dziagwa (8), McGriff (7) and Averette (6).
Averette finished with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, four assists and four steals.
“(Brandon) is a really talented kid, and I’ll be very honest, I’ve been very hard on him,” Underwood said. “He’s got a heck of a responsibility when it comes to running a basketball team, and to see him come out and have the success he had today shows that he’s a young man with tremendous pride, and I never doubted that.”
Carroll led all scorers with 20 points and a team-best seven rebounds, while Evans (13 points, six assists and two steals with only one turnover), Averette (12 points) and McGriff (11 points and five rebounds) also scored in double figures.
Three other freshmen – Waters (9 points), Dziagwa (8) and Lucas N’Guessan (8) – made major contributions.
The Cowboys will be back in action against Rogers State next Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Gallagher-Iba Area. Tip-off is 7 p.m.