CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer
STILLWATER (AP) — Oklahoma State took care of business to set up Saturday’s showdown with Wichita State.
Jeffrey Carroll scored 18 points and Leyton Hammonds added 16 to help the Cowboys defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 102-66 on Wednesday night.
Now, the Cowboys can focus on the Shockers. Wichita State was 27th in votes in this week’s AP Top 25.
“They’ve got our same mentality on defense,” Hammonds said. “They try to intimidate you, they try to get after you. They go really hard to the glass. But we’ve just got to do what we do.”
The Cowboys gave coach Brad Underwood plenty of gifts for his 53rd birthday. His team forced 31 turnovers, the most Oklahoma State has forced in a game since 2012, and they outscored the Golden Lions 32-19 from the free-throw line.
A pair of freshmen posted season high point totals — Thomas Dziagwa with 14 points and Lindy Waters with 13. The Cowboys (8-2) shot 47 percent and scored at least 100 points for the fifth time this season and at least 97 points for the seventh time.
“I think our young players continue to grow,” Underwood said. “Every night’s a learning experience for them.”
Oklahoma State guards Jawun Evans and Phil Forte returned to the starting lineup after dealing with recent injuries.
Evans missed last Saturday’s game against Tulsa with a left AC joint bruise. He finished with a season-low five points against Pine Bluff.
“I was really proud of Jawun,” Underwood said. “Jawun’s a tough kid. He had limited action in practice this week with the shoulder bruise. He played through some pain, but it was good for him to get the adrenaline flowing.”
Forte injured his tailbone before the Tulsa game and struggled in 21 minutes. He played 21 minutes against Pine Bluff but was more effective.
“I shouldn’t have played Phil at Tulsa,” he said. “He’s got a bruise about the size of a football from where he fell.”
Deshon Bayless led Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-10) with 18 points and Jaquan Lynch added 12. Marquis Cunningham was ejected in the second half after a skirmish with Waters.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions weren’t close, even though Forte and Evans weren’t at their best. It was Pine Bluff’s ninth straight loss.
Oklahoma State: The reserves outscored the starters 60-42, and 10 players scored.
Forte has made 38 of 39 free throws this season. He entered the game as the NCAA leader. He also moved up from from 16th into a tie for 14th in Oklahoma State history in scoring. He passed Olus Holder and now is tied with Leroy Combs with 1,434 points.
Hammonds, on if the young Cowboys will be prepared to deal with the crowd at Wichita State:
“Playing at Maryland, playing at Tulsa, playing at Maui against North Carolina — they had a lot of fans there — I feel like step by step, we were just learning, especially the freshmen. They hadn’t really seen a crowd that big and that loud, so it’s good that they got to see it early.”
Arkansas-Pine Bluff will play at New Mexico on Saturday.
Oklahoma State will play at Wichita State on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .
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