Rebounds, second-chance points allow Wichita State to storm past Cowboys

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Cameron McGriff drives to the hoop during the Oklahoma State vs. Wichita State men's basketball game, on Dec 8, 2019, at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Mike Boynton sat with his arms folded in front of him and studied the paper that summarized the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team’s tough afternoon in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

On that stat sheet, the numbers for rebounding and second-chance points told the story of the game before Boynton said anything in the press conference. Wichita State showed no mercy on the glass, took advantage of second-chance shots and clobbered the Cowboys 80-61 on Sunday.

The Shockers outrebounded the Cowboys 42-31, and they outscored OSU in second-chance points 23-8.

“They pursued the basketball more aggressively than we did,” Boynton said. “They brought the fight to us. We didn’t necessarily fight back strongly enough, and there’s the result. There were several times early in the game where our guys were trying to slap at the ball, and their guys were going and grabbing it with two hands and … pursuing the ball with purpose.”

Sophomore guard Jamarius Burton set the tone for the Shockers’ relentless rebounding game with a game-high eight boards.

When WSU controlled possessions, it often fed the ball to freshman guard Tyson Etienne, whose 19 points led all scorers. Etienne went 7-for-14 from the field and made five of his eight 3-point shots.

Cameron McGriff, a Cowboy senior forward who had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds, said Boynton’s postgame message to the team revolved around toughness.

“It’s just the will within,” McGriff said. “We have a lot of talent and things like that, but we've got to show a little bit more grit.”

On the Cowboys’ first possession, McGriff awakened OSU fans with a two-handed dunk. With 11:44 until halftime, McGriff was flying to the hoop again, this time for an alley-oop with the assist from freshman point guard Avery Anderson.

The highlights weren’t enough to keep the Cowboys (7-2) afloat in the absence of starting point guard Isaac Likekele, who missed his second straight game because of illness. Then they had to play without sophomore post Yor Anei, who fouled out with 10:19 left.

The Shockers (8-1) led 38-31 at halftime and inflated their advantage in the second half with support from a sizable fan presence. The vocal pockets of Shocker fans made it seem as if WSU could have been the home team at times, continuing a “Defense, defense” chant late into the game.

In the second half, the Cowboys couldn’t hit a shot from the field until senior guard Lindy Waters III made a layup with 15:56 left. Waters contributed a team-high 11 points, but OSU had its lowest-scoring game of the season.

As the Cowboys enter finals week, a stretch with no games, they have time to reflect on their struggles against WSU and implement changes.

“We just all understand that we've got to look in the mirror as far as why are things going this way,” McGriff said. “And definitely do some soul-searching over the next couple practices, which, they're gonna be tough. We’re just gonna have to be ready to work.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com