When Jeff Carroll and Jawun Evans play like they did Monday night – combining for 46 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists – the Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to be tough to beat. The Cowboys defeated TCU 89-76 to win their second Big 12 game in a row after opening conference play with six losses.
The Cowboys improve to 12-8 overall and 2-6 in Big 12 play, while the Horned Frogs drop to 14-6 and 3-5.
Evans was outstanding against the Horned Frogs, looking much like the player in November who scored 30 or more points in three of the Cowboys first six games of the season. Carroll continued his steady play with a 19-point, 10-rebound effort (his third double-double of the season).
Evans finished with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while contributing eight assists and two rebounds despite turning the ball over only once in 35 minutes of play. Carroll scored 19 points on only six field goals attempts (he was 5-of-6 shooting an a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line) and added 10 rebounds and an assist with only one turnover in 35 minutes.
“I thought the second half we were able to get into a little better rhythm, we got out in transition a little bit which helped us get some easy baskets, and in the second half it was Jawun’s game to manage,” OSU head coach Brad Underwood said. “We got him in the open floor with a lot of switches, he got to the rim.”
The Cowboys took control behind the play of Evans, Carroll and Phil Forte after the Horned Frogs had tied the game 49-49 with about 12 minutes left to play.
Carroll’s jumper with 11:45 broke that tie and that got the ball rolling – or maybe it would be more accurate to say got the ball falling – for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State would make its next 16 shots – 10 field goals and six free throws – over the next eight-plus minutes as the Cowboys took control.
Carroll’s jumper, followed by his three-pointer and a layup. Then Evans made it four in a row with a layup, and Carroll followed with a conventional three-point play. An Evans jumper, two free throws from Leyton Hammonds, an Evans three-point play, Forte layup, Hammonds added two more free throws, a Forte trey and a Brandon Averette jumper capped the run as the Cowboys took a 79-67 lead with 3:34 left on the clock.
During the 30-18 run, Carroll scored 10, Evans added 7 and Forte had 5.
The 27-point performance from Evans was the most points the sophomore point guard had scored since going for 30 against North Carolina on Nov. 22.
“He was coming off a ballgame in which I think he played 16 minutes against Tech due to foul problems,” Underwood said. “He adds another dimension. He gets a lot of guy’s easy baskets.
“That’s the Jawun we know and love, and we know how effective he can be. Tonight, I think the other thing that is real important is he had eight assists and one turnover. Those are the numbers you want out of an elite point guard, and he was all that tonight.”
With one more point Carroll would have become the first OSU player to post five straight 20-point games since James Anderson in 2008-09. But Underwood was still more than satisfied with the junior wing’s performance.
“He was so efficient. He’s so good in transition,” Underwood said. “He runs the court so hard, and that’s a big, big part of what we do.”
Sophomore Davon Dillard also contributed a career-best 10 points and three rebounds in 16 minutes.
“He was terrific because he didn’t do anything that wasn’t within what our goals are and our plans,” Underwood said. “He’s got the ability to be an elite defender because he’s just so country strong and he’s got great feet.
“When he eliminates mistakes he can guard multiple positions. I thought he was really good, and it’s good to see him hit a three because he hits them all the time in practice. The only negative he had was he missed our one free throw.”
Oklahoma State is back in action Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena against Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tip is 3 p.m.