Isaac Likekele patiently dribbled the basketball until he saw the right moment to drive into the paint.
After cutting left of his defender and rapidly approaching the basket, the senior guard heaved the ball toward the hoop. From there, it was up to Moussa Cisse to end the first half with an exclamation point, and he delivered.
Cisse, the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team’s starting post, floated up to the rim, slamming Likekele’s pass – which had extra flair as it bounced off the backboard – through the net for a two-handed alley-oop over Charleston forward Babacar Faye. His spirited dunk capped a first-half run that allowed the Cowboys to separate themselves from Charleston, leading to a 96-66 victory on Monday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
As the Cowboys (5-1) extended their win streak to four games, they threw a dunk party on their home court. Coach Mike Boynton said it didn’t surprise him.
“We dunk in practice a lot,” Boynton said. “We have a really, really athletic team, so I’m never surprised when we finish plays that we practice. But when we’re playing the way we played tonight in an attacking fashion on both sides of the court, those things happen.”
Instead of building their game around one star, the Cowboys continued to define themselves with collective contributions. Avery Anderson III, Bryce Thompson, Bryce Williams, Kalib Boone, Cisse and Likekele scored in double digits. Junior guard Anderson and sophomore guard Thompson led OSU with 15 points each.
The Cowboys stuck to their defensive principles, finishing with 16 blocks. The dunks also illustrated OSU’s group effort – multiple Cowboys had opportunities to take flight.
In the second half, senior guard Williams fed the basketball to junior forward Boone for an alley-oop. Then Williams dazzled the crowd as he stole the ball from the Cougars and posterized forward Ben Burnham. Later in the game, a Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and Cisse pick-and-roll led to another jam.
With four minutes left in the game, the Cowboys had an action-packed reel of dunks to display on the big screen, and there was no chance for the Cougars to make a comeback.
In the first half, the outcome hadn’t been so clear.
Charleston stayed close to the Cowboys, leading 36-35 with 2:08 left until halftime. Then OSU broke away with an 8-0 run. Kalib Boone scored four of those points, and Cisse’s dunk off Likekele’s assist gave OSU a 43-36 lead at the end of the half.
As the Cowboys added to their lead with jams throughout the second half, they brought back reminders of the days when fans rallied around the slogan “Lob Stilly,” referring to OSU’s high-flying capabilities.
“It’s back,” Boynton said. “We’ve got a few more lob plays we haven’t shown yet.”