STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State leading scorer Isaac Likekele returned after missing four games with an illness and the difference in his team’s performance was significant at both ends of the floor.
Thomas Dziagwa scored 14 points and Jonathan Laurent added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench to help lead Oklahoma State to an 82-31 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m pleased we took care of business today, like a team who plays in our league that’s supposed to contend on some level is supposed to do,” said Cowboys coach Mike Boynton. “We’ll take it.”
In 19 minutes of action, Likekele scored nine points and had four assists for Oklahoma State (9-3), which went 1-3 without him.
“I was really excited just to be back out there,” said Likekele, who entered the day averaging 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.9 steals per contest. “It’s been rough just watching, just because I want to be out there and want to be able to help my team, but it’s also been beneficial. I got to see things from a different point of view.”
Tyron Brewer recorded 14 points, 12 rebounds and three steals to lead Southeastern Louisiana (3-9), which had won two of its previous three contests.
“Sometimes you’re either the dog or the tree and we were the tree tonight and they were the dog,” said Lions first-year coach David Kiefer. “Probably the worst performance we’ve had this year. We’re going to burn that tape, no reason to watch it.”
Oklahoma State’s defense limited the Lions to just 22% shooting (13 of 58), including just 1 of 20 from 3-point range, both season lows for the Cowboys. The 31 points scored was also a season low for both Southeastern Louisiana to score and for Oklahoma State to allow.
In fact, defense was the area that Boynton was most disappointed in his team during Likekele’s absence.
“We can’t be a team that can be that drastically different because of one guy,” Boynton said. “The thing I was most frustrated with while he was gone was our defensive numbers and focus. As good as he is, he shouldn’t have that much impact on our defense. I was pleased to see us get back to, with him, having the type of defensive intensity that we needed. He makes the game easier for a lot of guys. He brings a confidence and a competitive edge to us.”
Oklahoma State has now won 21 straight games against teams from the Southland Conference, dating back to Dec. 2005.
Southeastern Louisiana: After an excellent performance in their previous outing, a hard-fought 83-76 defeat to Ole Miss on Dec. 21, the Lions were outmatched right from the beginning in this one. They fell behind 11-1 over the first 5:07 of the contest, and after pulling to within 13-8 over the next three-plus minutes, never got that close again. Oklahoma State built its lead to as much as 30 points late in the first half, before taking a 47-19 advantage into halftime.
Oklahoma State: It was a nice bounce-back performance for the Cowboys, who trailed by double digits most of the time in their last game, an 86-66 loss to Minnesota in Tulsa on Dec. 21 that was even more lopsided than the score would suggest. In this one, Oklahoma State led wire-to-wire, building a 10-point lead just over five minutes into it and continuing to build on it to the point they were up by at least 30 for most of the second half.
Oklahoma State won the rebounding battle 51-34, including a 29-16 edge in the second half. … Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters entered the day tied with Likekele, averaging 13.7 points per game, but had just four in this one, tied for his lowest output of the season. He did have seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. … Aside from Brewer’s 6-of-13 shooting, the rest of the Lions shot 16% (7 of 45) from the floor. … Southeastern Louisiana shot just 40 percent on free throws (4 of 10).
Southeastern Louisiana: The Lions get back into Southland action when they host Stephen F. Austin on Thursday.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys open Big 12 play next Saturday when they go on the road to take on Texas Tech.
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