Brad Underwood knows as a basketball coach he’s never supposed to look ahead to the next game. But it was hard Wednesday night for the Oklahoma State head coach not to begin thinking about Saturday’s showdown with Wichita State during the Cowboys 102-66 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Cowboys only led 11-10 early but used a 28-9 run over an eight-minute stretch of the first half to take control 39-19 against the Golden Lions. They increased it to 53-28 at halftime, and the outcome was all but determined.
Oklahoma State, 8-2, now turns its focus to Wichita State, 9-2. The Cowboys and Shockers will face off at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Shockers only two losses have come to teams ranked among the nation’s top 25 when they played – No. 10 Louisville (62-52) and No. 24 Michigan State (77-72). Wichita State has won four in a row since the loss to Michigan State, including last Saturday’s 76-73 victory over Oklahoma in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City.
Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jeffrey Carroll was one of five Cowboys in double figures Wednesday night with 18 points. He was followed by Leyton Hammonds (16), Thomas Dziagwa (14), Lindy Waters (13) and Cameron McGriff (10).
Point guard Jawun Evans (5 points in 22 minutes) played after missing the Tulsa game with a shoulder injury and Phil Forte (8 points in 21 minutes) also saw action after suffering a hip injury last week.
“Well, I think the best thing is we got them to sweat,” Underwood said of Evans and Forte. “We didn’t over-extended them but they got their feet back under them a little bit. That’s something going into Saturday’s game, they’re both back and got a little flow and kicked the rust off so to speak because they’ve had some extended time where they had not been on the court (in practice) doing things.
“It’s nice to have them back at practice and it’s nice to have them back in the game. Saturday’s going to be a … that’s a grown man’s game on Saturday and we’re going to need both of those guys to be great.”