Cowboys open with Abilene Christian

Oklahoma State opens its 115th men’s basketball season Monday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena against the Abilene Christian Wildcats (8 p.m. CT, ESPN+).

Promotion:

Monday night’s opener is the nightcap of a men’s and women’s doubleheader, and fans can enjoy both games with one ticket. The Cowgirls tip off at 5 p.m. CT against SIUE. The Cowboys take the court at 8 p.m. To purchase seats, visit okstate.com/tickets or call (877) 255-4678.

In the N7s:

November is Native American Heritage Month, and OSU will mark the occasion by wearing its turquoise N7 uniforms. The jerseys are part of a continuing partnership with Nike and its N7 Fund, which focuses on helping youth in Native American and Indigenous communities in North America lead healthier, happier, and more successful lives. In Native American culture, the color turquoise represents harmony, friendship and fellowship.

Watch:

The game will air on the Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Mike Wolfe and Bryndon Manzer.

Fans can subscribe to ESPN’s over-the-top streaming service for $10.99/month ($110/year) or bundle with Disney+ and Hulu for as little as $14.99/month. Visit plus.espn.com for more information.

Listen:

Dave Hunziker and John Holcomb describe the action across the Cowboy Radio Network.

Visit okstate.com/radio for a full list of network affiliates. Fans outside the listening area can tune in via the Varsity Sports App or at okstate.com/listen.

Last Time Out:

Nov. 1 (Stillwater) | OSU 95, Oklahoma Baptist 53

  • Four OSU true freshmen combined for 55 points on 24-of-32 shooting in an exhibition romp.
  • Justin McBride supplied a game-high 19 points and Eric Dailey Jr. made all seven shots on his way to 14. Brandon Garrison added a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, while Connor Dow (11 points) nailed 3-of-4 threes.
  • OSU won its 56th straight exhibition at GIA.
  • Helped by eight dunks, OSU shot 56.3% from the field while holding the visitors to 27.3%.
  • The Cowboys outscored the Bison 60-28 in the paint, 19-2 on fast breaks and 25-4 off turnovers.
  • After allowing the game’s first basket, OSU used runs of 11-0 and 18-0 to sieze control. The Cowboys scored points on nearly 70% of their first half possessions to take a 49-21 edge into the break and led by as many as 46 down the stretch. 

OSU in Openers:

  • OSU is 89-25 all-time in season openers.
  • The Cowboys have won four straight and 27 of their last 28 openers with the lone loss coming at Charlotte in 2018.
  • OSU has won its first home game in 48 consecutive seasons, last losing in 1974 to 11th-ranked Alabama.
  • The Cowboys haven’t dropped a season-opener on their home floor since 1957 (Kansas).

Giants of GIA:

  • OSU is 850-246 (.776) all-time at Gallagher-Iba Arena, which opened in 1938.
  • The Nov. 24 game against Houston Christian will be the building’s 1,100th regular season contest.
  • The Cowboys are 453-62 (.880) in non-conference games at GIA (36-10 under Boynton).
  • Monday night will be Boynton’s 100th regular season game at GIA. He’ll join Henry Iba (349), Eddie Sutton (231) and Travis Ford (128) as the only head coaches to reach the century mark. Their combined game total represents just under 74% of OSU contests played inside the 85-year old facility.

Climbing the List:

  • Head coach Mike Boynton enters his seventh season with a 107-89 overall record.
  • He’s tied with Paul Hansen (107-89 from 1979-86) for fourth on OSU’s all-time wins list, trailing only Henry Iba (654), Eddie Sutton (368) and Travis Ford (155).

Staying up with the Trends:

  • OSU held 25 of its 36 opponents below 40% from the field last year and pinned 10 different foes under 60 points.
  • The Cowboys were 19-3 when shooting the same or better percentage than their opponent but 1-13 when out-shot.
  • OSU has blocked at least two shots in 46 consecutive games going back to early Feb. 2, 2022.
  • OSU has made at least one three-pointer in 763 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 13, 2001.

Good Signs for the Future:

  • Mike Boynton has a promising young core of players to build around with a five-man freshman class has been ranked as high as seventh nationally by Rivals and tenth per 247Sports composite.
  • It’s Boynton’s highest-rated class, edging out the 2020 group, which was listed 10th and anchored by the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Cade Cunningham.
  • The front court trio of Brandon Garrison (Rivals No. 30), Eric Dailey Jr. (No. 33 per 247Sports) and Justin McBride (Rivals No. 79) all earned four-star grades, while guards Jamyron Keller (Rivals No. 134) and Connor Dow were three-star prospects.
  • Not included in that class ranking was redshirt freshman Isaiah Miranda, who graded out as high as 29th in the Class of 2023 before reclassifying.

Rivals 2023 Recruiting Class Rankings

School // 5-Star Signees // 4-Star // 3-Star

  1. Duke — 4/0/0
  2. Southern Cal – 1/2/0
  3. Connecticut – 1/4/0
  4. Michigan St. – 1/3/0
  5. Iowa St. – 1/3/1
  6. Oregon – 2/ 1/0
  7. Oklahoma St. – 0/3/2
  8. Louisville – 1/2/0
  9. Maryland – 0/3/1
  10. Memphis – 0/4/0

Boynton’s Top-25 Signing Classes:

Class of 2019 – No. 25

Class of 2020 – No. 10

Class of 2023 – No. 7

The Series with Abilene Christian:

  • OSU leads the all-time series 3-1. All four previous meetings came in Stillwater during the 1960s.
  • The Cowboys last faced ACU in Henry Iba’s final season opener (Dec. 2, 1969).

Dec. 23, 1961 (Stillwater) – OSU, 74-70

Moe Iba scored 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Cecil Epperley (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Eddie Bunch (17 pts, 11 reb) each supplied double-doubles.

The Cowboys trailed by a point at halftime but outscored the visitors 45-30 in the second half.

Dec. 3, 1964 (Stillwater) — OSU, 54-42

Down five at halftime, OSU outscored ACU 31-14 the rest of the way. James King finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the eventual Big 8 champs.

Dec. 21, 1965 (Stillwater) – ACU, 67-52

David Wray (23) and Charles Cleek (20) led the scoring for ACU, which went on to play in the NCAA small-college national tournament

Dec. 2, 1969 (Stillwater) – OSU, 61-51

John Robinson and Rick Cooper scored 10 each to lead the Cowboys.

Scouting the Wildcats:

  • ACU is picked fifth out of 11 teams in the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll.
  • The Wildcats (13-17, 5-11 WAC last year) return five players who averaged at least 5.0 points-per-game in 2022-23, including leading scorer Immanuel Allen (10.8 ppg) and seniors Airion Simmons (9.6 ppg) and Ali Abdou Dibba (9.6 ppg). Simmons was an All-WAC performer in 2022.
  • Brette Tanner is in his 11th season with the ACU program and his third as head coach. He replaced Joe Golding after the latter departed for UTEP in the spring of 2021.
  • Tanner was the Associate Head Coach in 2021 when 14th-seeded ACU knocked off No. 3 Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In his first year as head coach (2021-22) he led the Wildcats to 25 wins, a runner-up finish in the WAC tournament and a semifinal run in the CBI.
  • ACU made the jump to NCAA Division I prior to the 2013-14 season and moved from the Southland Conference to the Western Athletic Conference in the summer of 2021. The results have been positive. The Wildcats won at least 20 games in four straight seasons from 2018-22.
  • ACU opponents can look forward to 40 minutes of intense ball pressure. Last year the Wildcats ranked fifth nationally in turnovers forced (17.7) and turnover margin (+5.0). Two years ago they led the nation in both categories.

Matchup Mashup:

  • OSU junior Brooks Manzer and ACU sophomore JV Seat were teammates on an Edmond Memorial High School team that reached the 2021 Class 6A state final.
  • Memorial fell, 47-44, in the title game to a Del City squad anchored by current OSU freshman Brandon Garrison.

An OSU win would…

  • Make them 1-0 for the fifth consecutive year and for the 28th time in 29 seasons.
  • Make them 6-1 in season-openers under Boynton.
  • Make them 90-25 all-time in season debuts.
  • Give them a 4-1 lead in the all-time series with ACU.
  • Be Boynton’s 108th at OSU head coach, moving him into sole possession of fourth place on the school’s all-time wins list ahead Paul Hansen who was 107-89 from 1979-86.
  • Make Boynton 66-34 at GIA. 

Up Next: Sam Houston

Sunday, Nov. 12 | 2:01 p.m. CT

Stillwater | GIA 

  • OSU meets Sam Houston for the second consecutive year.
  • The Cowboys lead the all-time series 3-0 after last December’s 65-51 victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Bryce Thompson led the charge with 17 points on four three-pointers.
  • Sam Houston (26-8, 14-4 WAC, NCAA NET No. 69) went on to win last year’s WAC regular season title and reached the second round of the NIT before falling to eventual champion North Texas.
  • First-year head coach Chris Mudge was promoted last April after 13 seasons under Jason Hooten. The latter took the New Mexico State job last spring.
  • A year ago, the Bearkats ranked among the national leaders in scoring defense (4th, 59.3), field goal percentage defense (7th, .391) and turnovers forced (11th, 16.6).
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Craig Hall
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