Evans leads Okla. St. over Campbell in Underwood debut
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Jawun Evans scored 34 points and Oklahoma State beat Campbell 102-65 on Friday night, giving head coach Brad Underwood a win in his Cowboys debut.
Evans, who was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season despite missing the final 10 games with a shoulder injury, had 26 points at halftime and finished 11 for 18 from the field, with six rebounds, three assists and five steals.
''Just taking what they give me,'' Evan said of his big night. ''My teammates put me in a better spot. I just tried to pick us up and get us rolling. Just a great night for us. We started out kind of slow. As a team, we got some key guys come in and pick up the defense.''
Sixth-year senior Phil Forte, who missed all but the first three games of last year with an elbow injury, and Jeffrey Carroll each scored 22 points for Oklahoma State (1-0).
Freshman Cameron McGriff had 13 rebounds in his college debut and Carroll, both coming off the bench, added nine.
''I thought our bench was absolutely huge tonight,'' Underwood said. ''When you get one point (combined) from three starters, that's going to be problematic most nights. We're going to work to continue our depth and that's something, the way we play, we've got to have depth. I think you saw what a toll it can take on opposing teams. We're going to take them out of their offense.''
Underwood joined the Cowboys after compiling an 89-14 record – including two NCAA tournament victories – over three seasons at Stephen F. Austin. He won the Southland Conference Coach of the Year award each season.
Chris Clemons scored 17 points to lead Campbell (0-1).
Campbell: Clemons, the Big South Freshman of the Year last season, is a special talent. He controlled the game for stretches of the first half and had 13 points in the first 11 minutes. And although he wound up shooting just 5-of-18, Clemons was impressive, sinking four 3-pointers. He also came out of the contest twice after getting hurt, but returned both times.
Oklahoma State started a bit clunkily, missing its first five shots, and had moments of sloppiness, committing 12 turnovers in the first half and 15 overall. But in their first game under Underwood, the Cowboys also had moments of explosiveness, especially from Evans and Forte.
''I think this was a very typical first game, there were a lot of sloppy things that happened,'' Underwood said. ''I thought our effort was very good. We've got a lot of things to work on.''
After a 10-0 run capped off by Andrew Eudy's steal and subsequent layup, Campbell led 30-26 with 7:59 remaining in the first half. Evans then scored the next nine points in less than a minute as part of a 13-0 run that put Oklahoma State ahead to stay. The Cowboys completed a 26-3 stretch when Carroll's tap-in with 2:34 left in the half put OSU up 52-33. During that stretch, Campbell missed nine consecutive shots, scoring just three free throws over a six-minute span.
HE SAID IT
''I'm a pretty emotional person,'' Underwood said of his first game at OSU. ''I thought a lot today about walking into that building for the first time when it really counts and how much that means to me, and I've had a long journey. The journey has made this special. I've been blessed from that standpoint. I know how important basketball is at Oklahoma State; I know how great it's been. I know how important it is to fans. That means so much to me.''
Campbell returns home to the newly-renovated Gore Arena in Buies Creek, North Carolina, for its home opener on Tuesday against Bridgewater.
Oklahoma State remains at home over the weekend and will take on Central Arkansas on Monday.