Freshman guard Cade Cunningham enjoyed a successful collegiate debut, even if his own coach gave him a grade that might raise a few eyebrows.
Cunningham aims to test better in the eyes of head coach Mike Boynton on Saturday when Oklahoma State (1-0) hosts Texas Southern (0-1) in Stillwater, Okla.
With his parents and uncle in attendance, Cunningham collected 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the Cowboys’ 75-68 season-opening win over Texas-Arlington on Wednesday. The game was played in Cunningham’s hometown of Arlington, Texas.
“He was somewhere between a C-plus and B-minus,” Boynton said afterward. “I thought he played the game the right way.”
Five turnovers and three fouls likely factored into Boynton’s assessment of Cunningham. There is, after all, room for an improvement just one game into the season.
“I came in pretty open-minded and ready to adapt to whatever the game looked like,” Cunningham said. “I think I did that pretty early in the game. After that, I got comfortable.”
Oklahoma State’s Isaac Likekele recorded a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with nine points and seven assists. Sophomore Keylan Boon had a personal-best 12 boards and 10 points for his first career double-double.
Oklahoma State took a step forward in its opener after posting a 18-14 record overall last season. The Cowboys are in the midst of transition after losing four of their top five scorers from 2019-20 as they feature eight freshmen and 10 total newcomers.
The Tigers arrive in Stillwater after a 56-52, season-opening road loss to Washington State on Wednesday. Michael Weathers, a transfer from Oklahoma State, joined John Walker III and Galen Alexander in scoring 10 points apiece.
All-Southwest Athletic Conference first-team pick Yahuza Rasas added seven points off the bench. He had just one rebound after averaging a team-best 8.2 last season.
Graduate student Justin Hopkins added five points off the bench. He is the team’s leading returning scorer (10.5 points per game in 2019-20).
“We should be effective with the depth that we have. Guys should be ready to make an impact on the floor,” Tigers coach Johnny Jones said.
Texas Southern is entertaining high hopes after finishing 16-16 last season. The team has been pegged as the preseason favorite to win the SWAC.
“We have great length, certainly the biggest team across the board that we’ve had and I love our athleticism with this group,” Jones said, per the Houston Chronicle. “Hopefully with that combination some good things will happen for us.”
–Field Level Media