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Cowboys Show Their Character In Maui

Head coach Brad Underwood is pleased with what he learned about his team Wednesday night.

After the first couple of minutes in the second half, as the Cowboys lead was mounting and as the ESPN broadcast went to a break, they showed Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood and you could easily detect a smirk on his face.

Underwood, with a pair of put back baskets from freshman Euro center Lucas N'Guessan and a fast start to the second half following a halftime lead of 50-35 that included the play of the game earlier in the half when Jeffrey Carroll followed a Phil Forte missed three with a monstrous slam dunk and at the buzzer a three-pointer from the wing from freshman Thomas Dziagwa, got the answer to the question he had posed to his players before the game began.

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"We were going to find out about our character," Underwood told Cowboy Network broadcasters Dave Hunziker and John Holcomb following the game. "We got beat by the best team in the country last night and we we're going to find out about our character."

The 107-75 loss to North Carolina was a rude awakening for a team that had breezed, sometimes sloppy, through the likes of Campbell, Central Arkansas, New Orleans, and even UConn in the first game of the Maui Jim Maui Classic. Roy's boys in blue brought the Pokes crashing back down like a surfer caught at the high point of a wave that loses his board right out from under him.

The one guy that kept the Cowboys afloat against Carolina and the most consistent player through the start point guard Juwan Evans had a ho-hum game for him with 13 points, but unlike Tuesday night when Carolina intimidated Evans' teammates into submission if not hibernation, the Cowboys and especially the bench came back strong.

Brandon Averette had 12 points, Cam McGriff 11, Dziagwa had 8 points. Jeffrey Carroll led the way with 20. The Cowboys were outboarded but forced 28 turnovers in pouring on more points against a Hoya team since Missouri scored 102 in an overtime win in 2010.

You have to consider the trip to Hawaii a major success with a 2-1 record, an obvious step forward from a number of players. It's like Underwood says, his team doesn't really get it yet, running the offense and what they can do out of it. They seem to have totally grasped the hustle concept and for now that is enough to keep the wheels turning pretty good.

Thursday the Pokes will wake up and have a few hours in paradise and then climb aboard a big jet and head back to Stillwater.

How good is Underwood feeling? "I'm going to go cliff diving tomorrow," he told the Cowboy Network audience. "You only live once." 

I think Underwood will be fine. The Cowboys already had their crash (against Carolina) and they've learned well how to get back up and get going.


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