A year ago, Jalen Moore’s free throws in the final minute lifted Oakland to a one-point victory over Oklahoma State on the road.
The win was the first for the Golden Grizzlies against a Power Five team since the 2016-17 season.
Sunday, the teams meet again — this time in Rochester, Mich.
The Cowboys (1-1) are the first major conference team to visit Oakland since Georgia early in the 2016-17 season. The Golden Grizzlies won that game.
After missing the opener this season with a right-ankle sprain, Moore returned for Friday’s 87-82 loss to Bowling Green, scoring 18.
While Moore remains short of 100 percent after his injury, Oakland appears better able to handle such situations than it was last season. In 2021-22, the Golden Grizzlies appeared to tire down the stretch, dropping four of their last six games to miss the postseason.
“Playing a lot of minutes, it’s a wear-and-tear on your body,” Moore said. “That’s what I think hurt us last year.”
Moore averaged more than 38 minutes per game last season.
Through two games, Oakland (1-1) has five players averaging at least 12 points per game.
Last year’s loss to Oakland was a sign of things to come for Oklahoma State, which regularly struggled to put away opponents late. Through two games, this year’s Cowboys have already shown similar struggles.
Against Texas-Arlington in the opener, a 31-point second-half lead nearly dwindled away before Oklahoma State finally put the game away for good late.
Then Thursday against Southern Illinois, the Cowboys blew a 13-point second-half lead in a 61-60 loss.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said he was confident in his team’s ability not to make blowing leads a constant theme of the season.
“I feel like this team is much more equipped to handle it moving forward,” Boynton said. “We just gotta get better.”
Through two games, Avery Anderson is leading the Cowboys in scoring with 10.5 points per game while Moussa Cisse has 10.0 rebounds per game.
–Field Level Media