With limited players available Thursday, Brandon Averette and Mitchell Solomon gave the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team a much-needed boost.
With Jeffrey Carroll and Davon Dillard still out of the lineup – in addition to Yankuba Sima unavailable until mid-December – the Cowboys were down an extra player for the first half. Cam McGriff was benched for disciplinary reasons, leaving the Cowboys down to a pair of post players.
Without McGriff to come of the bench, Solomon stepped up for the Cowboys in the first half, with Averette torching Oral Roberts all night inside Gallgher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys routed ORU, 91-48, improving to 3-0 on the season.
“I was proud of our guys for once again dealing with some adversity and being able to overcome a fairly slow start tonight,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “We weren’t as sharp defensively tonight as we were the other night to start the game. Then we got a few stops and easy baskets, and that kind of sparked us.”
Solomon played 17 of 20 first-half minutes and padded his stat sheet. The senior from Bixby scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished three assists and blocked two shots.
He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in the OSU victory.
“Coach challenged us or at least me to be more of a presence inside, so he was going to try and go to me,” Solomon said. “I just wanted to take advantage of it. We knew ORU was really good inside, so I was going to be a big part of this game, so I tried to take the most of it.”
Boynton was proud of Solomon, because he believes Solomon can be a big contributor this season.
“Mitch is a kid that we try and continue to pour confidence into,” Boynton said. “He’s a good player. He’s better than the thinks of himself. Our job is to help him understand that. When we starts to believe he’s as good as we think he is, he can be a really big contributor on this team well into Big 12 play.”
Coming off an impressive outing, which included a highlight reel dunk for the ages, Averette led all players with 21 points, while also dishing nine assists, on 8 of 16 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Averette scored 14 points in the first half as OSU took a 44-27 lead into the break. He sank all three of his 3-pointer in the first half as the Cowboys built a sizable lead.
Thomas Dziagwa and Zack Dawson each added 11 points for the Cowboys.