It was the most anticipated debut in OSU basketball history. And he didn’t disappoint. Cade Cunningham dropped a team high 21 points and ten boards as OSU beat UT-Arlington 75-68.
After a slow start and missing his first few shots, Cunningham drained a jumper from the elbow for his first bucket, then a pair of three pointers and a couple of tough layups in the first half where he did most of his damage.
A steady presence for OSU all evening though was four star Canadian recruit Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. He had a pair of and one’s in the contest en route to an 11 point performance off of the bench.
UT-Arlington did keep the contest close throughout. Shahada Wells hit a big time three before the half. OSU led by five at the break. Wells led UTA with 21.
In the second half, Keylan Boone drilled a three from the left elbow. He had ten points and 12 boards. He and Cunningham’s double-doubles are the first Cowboy duo to achieve double-doubles in a game in six years.
Isaac Likekele was a bit quiet but hit a big triple in the second half to help build OSU’s lead to five. Likekele had just seven points, but added 13 rebounds and seven assists. That included an assist to Ferron Flavors who drilled a deep three which helped keep the Mavericks at bay. The Cowboys would hit a bunch of free throws down the stretch to seal it.
Cunningham said after the game that playing in his own backyard gave him a lot of comfort as he made his college debut.
OSU shot a solid 45 percent from the field to UT-Arlington’s 38 percent. The biggest reason the Cowboys had success was their rebounding ability. The Pokes pulled down 54 boards to their 33. The Cowboys did have to overcome 18 turnovers in the win, something Cunningham said he hoped to shore up heading into game number two.
Next up for OSU, they have their home opener inside GIA Saturday night at 6:30pm against Texas Southern.