By JOHN TRANCHINA, Associated Press
STILLWATER (AP) — Even without their best player, Oklahoma State had no problem with Pepperdine on Friday night.
Lindy Waters scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds as Oklahoma State gave Mike Boynton a victory in his coaching debut, 78-47, in the season opener for both teams.
Kendall Smith, a graduate transfer from Cal State Northridge, scored 10 points and had eight assists, as well as three steals, in his first game for Oklahoma State, which had five players score in double digits.
“We all just stepped up, whether it was offensively or defensively,” said Waters, a sophomore who averaged 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game last year. “We didn’t really focus on the offense, we focused on defense and it rolled over and it just helped us offensively.”
Cowboys star guard Jeffrey Carroll, who averaged 17.5 points (ranking third in the Big 12 Conference) and 6.6 rebounds last year, did not play. A statement released by the school about four hours before game time stated Carroll was “being withheld from play pending the ongoing review of the men’s basketball program.”
“I can’t say a whole lot other than, obviously, it’s part of an ongoing investigation and hopefully, we have it resolved some time soon,” Boynton said of the situation. “We’d all like to move past it.”
The 35-year-old Boynton, who served as an assistant coach on Brad Underwood’s staff for three years at Stephen F. Austin and last year with OSU, won his first game as a head coach at any level.
“I’m extremely proud of our team, for the way we played,” said Boynton, who was presented with the game ball by his players after the game. “The win is obviously really big. . I’m most proud of the way we defended, so if we continue to make strides in that area, I feel good about where this team can go.”
Trae Berhow scored 13 points and had eight rebounds to lead Pepperdine.
Oklahoma State limited the Waves to just 28.3 percent shooting (13 for 46), including 18.8 percent (3 for 16) from 3-point range.
“Kind of surprised at us, more so of our lack of poise than our lack of discipline,” said Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson. “I didn’t expect that from our side. I’m more disappointed at what we didn’t do and I thought we were nervous.”
The game was part of the 2017 Progressive Legends Classic tournament, which runs over the next two weeks and culminates Thanksgiving week at Texas A&M.
Pepperdine: The Waves remained competitive in the contest for most of the first half before Oklahoma State blew open a close game. It was good to see Amadi Udenyi, who missed most of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, back on the court. In 23 minutes, Udenyi scored two points and had two assists. Kameron Edwards, who missed all of last year with a fractured jaw, scored seven points, with four rebounds, in 24 minutes of action.
Oklahoma State: The Boynton era got off to a nice start, as the new-look Cowboys, who lost three of their four leading scorers off of last year’s squad (and sat the fourth), showed flashes of the same up-tempo offense and pressuring defense that helped them go 20-13 and set a new school record with 85.7 points per contest.
The mysterious situation with Carroll is worrisome, though, depending on how long he is held out of the lineup and what the investigation ultimately uncovers.
After Berhow sank a 15-foot jump shot with 5:45 remaining in the first half, Pepperdine trailed just 22-18, but Oklahoma State responded with a 12-3 run to end the half, taking a 13-point lead into halftime. The Cowboys then came out of the break with a game-defining 17-4 run to build a 26-point advantage when Mitchell Solomon sank a 10-foot jumper with 12:41 to go.
Oklahoma State forced 17 turnovers while limiting Pepperdine to just six assists. The Cowboys had 18 assists of their own, turning the ball over just 10 times. . With the win, Oklahoma State has now won 23 straight season opening games and 42 consecutive home openers, as well as 10 non-conference home contests in a row. . Pepperdine is 6-21 in season-opening road games, and has lost eight straight such contests dating back to 1997-98.
Pepperdine: The Waves return to California to take on Cal Lutheran on Tuesday, the first of four consecutive home games.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys play the second of three straight
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