Keylan Boone

Britt Harriman/OSU Athletics

Keylan Boone led the Oklahoma State men's basketball team with 12 points in a win against Prairie View A&M. 

Depth isn’t a problem for the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team.

The Cowboys have plenty of capable starters, but the early-season challenge for coach Mike Boynton is figuring out which combinations of five gel best. As OSU defeated Prairie View A&M 72-59 on Sunday afternoon in Gallagher-Iba Arena, 15 Cowboys had opportunities to play.

It wasn’t a smooth victory. Although the Panthers’ frequent fouls gave the Cowboys many chances for easy points, OSU made only 28 of its 46 free-throw attempts. Both teams committed their share of turnovers – the Cowboys had 20, and Prairie View A&M lost the ball 29 times.

Despite some shaky moments, OSU (2-1) relied on team effort to return to the win column, bouncing back from a stunning 56-55 loss to Oakland.

The Cowboys’ starting lineup consisted of junior guard Avery Anderson III, sophomore guard Bryce Thompson, senior guard Isaac Likekele, sophomore forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and sophomore post Moussa Cisse. Boynton decided to use a platoon system, swapping in an entirely new group about four minutes into the game.

“We played the game a little different today than I ever have,” Boynton said. “I thought on Friday, we played selfishly on the offensive end, and I needed to show them that you have to be willing to let somebody else do well sometimes and not want to play the whole game and get all the shots. We have a deep team.”

The second rotation included sophomore guard Rondel Walker, sophomore guard Donovan Williams and junior stretch forward Keylan Boone, as well as two Cowboys who played for the first time this season.

Junior forward Kalib Boone, who had to work his way back into practice since recovering from an injury, returned to compete alongside his twin brother. Senior guard Bryce Williams also made his season debut, coming back from the suspension he served after a DUI charge in August.

The Cowboys who entered the game off the bench provided an immediate spark. Keylan Boone splashed a 3-pointer through the hoop, and Donovan Williams followed with a layup to give OSU an 8-3 lead.

OSU’s bench outscored the starters 39-33.

“We got a lot of players who can make plays,” Keylan Boone said. “We can mix the starting lineups, and it won’t matter because everybody can make plays.”

Keylan Boone had a team-high 12 points. Cisse led the starting lineup with 10, but shooting didn’t always come easily for the Cowboys.

OSU went 20 for 43 from the field and shot 4 for 13 beyond the arc. Prairie View A&M’s zone defense created difficulties at times, continuing the issues the Cowboys faced against Oakland’s zone Friday.

“Now, we're learning, and then we're gonna get used to it," Cisse said.

The Panthers (0-4) rallied to chip away at the Cowboys’ 38-15 halftime lead. Within the first five minutes of the second half, Prairie View A&M doubled its score, cruising on a 15-0 run. OSU was clinging to a 38-30 lead when Kalib Boone ended the scoring drought, throwing down a dunk to disrupt the Panthers’ run.

“Since he'd been injured, I had really just been trying to hold it down for him," Keylan Boone said. "But once he got his first dunk, I was just like, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s back.'"

The Cowboys recovered from Prairie View’s run to establish a secure advantage, and with 1:43 left, OSU’s walk-ons entered the lineup.

Next, the Cowboys travel to Connecticut to compete in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. OSU takes on UMass-Lowell at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

As OSU continues through the season, Boynton expects to scrap his platoon strategy. Switching between set groups of five doesn't help with establishing flow, he said. 

“It’s not realistic,” Boynton said. “There’s no way to do it effectively in a game like ours, which requires rhythm. But (the) point was, I hope, understood, and we can now move forward and just get back to trying to be a really good team for each other.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you