Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton is looking for improvement on the offensive end as non-conference play wraps up Tuesday with a visit from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
But he does not want his team giving up anything on the other side of the court.
“We’re a defensive-first team,” Boynton said of his squad that allows and average of fewer than 62 points per game.
The Cowboys (7-4) figure to be conflicted on where to put their focus after not scoring more than 65 points in any of their Past four games. The contest Tuesday at Stillwater, Okla., is the last before a lengthy Christmas break, with the Big 12 opener set for Dec. 31 at Kansas.
“Whenever we get the ball contained at half court, we’re pretty good defensively,” Oklahoma State guard John-Michael Wright said. “We’ve got great principles; the coaches show us where we need to be in positions. But we know once we stop teams from getting in a fastbreak, we can hold anybody in half-court.”
Oklahoma State is No. 7 nationally in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.4 percent from the floor. No team has shot better than 38.6 percent against the Cowboys this season.
While the Cowboys have been strong defensively, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has struggled to contain opponents. The Islanders are allowing 72.5 points per game.
“I’m a little disappointed where we are defensively, especially given the amount of experience we have on this team and the amount of returners we have to this basketball team,” Islanders’ coach Steve Lutz said. “We have a good group of guys who work pretty hard and are trying to do what I’m asking them to do.
“We just have to have more defensive discipline with what we are going on every possession.”
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-5) has three of its victories against Division III opponents. None of the Islanders’ wins have come on the road.
Lutz remains confident in his team headed into their final non-conference game against a Division I opponent.
“Our big focus right now is us,” Lutz said. “Ultimately you will be judged from Dec. 31 on.”
The Islanders open Southland Conference play on New Year’s Eve at Northwestern State.
Four Texas A&M-Corpus Christi players average in double figures, led by Isaac Mushila’s 15.5 points per game. He also is averaging 10.2 rebounds.
The Islanders haven’t beaten a power conference team since 2009.
The Cowboys have won all 11 meetings between the programs, with the most recent coming in 2018.
–Field Level Media