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Well-rested Oklahoma State returns vs. South Carolina State

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Oklahoma State can only hope its return from a lengthy break goes better than that of its next opponent, South Carolina State, when the teams meet Sunday in Stillwater, Okla.

Oklahoma State (6-5) has not played since eking out a 76-70 win over Wofford on Dec. 20. The Cowboys won their third straight game in what has been a disappointing season.

Coach Mike Boynton Jr. gave the team five days away from the practice court.

“Certainly, from a mental standpoint, it’s been a grind for a lot of these guys when you add the fact that we went on to summer trip. … This was the first time in a while that they’ve been able to have three or four days of not hearing my voice. … But I also told them, ‘When we get back, it’s gonna be go time.'”

Oklahoma State’s strength-of-schedule rating is a lowly 296th by one index, highlighting their struggles to get to .500 after a 1-3 start.

“We feel like a lot of the things that we struggle with are fixable,” Boynton said. “… Our margin of error is clearly not as great as maybe some other teams out there, with as many young guys as we’re playing, but I think we can get them to understand that sense of urgency over the next week.”

The Cowboys also take on Chicago State on Wednesday before opening their Big 12 schedule by welcoming No. 17 Baylor on Jan. 6.

Javon Small leads Oklahoma State in scoring with 15.8 points per game, followed by Bryce Thompson (11.9) and Eric Dailey Jr. (9.6).

South Carolina State’s season got no better after a week off. The Bulldogs (4-11), who start their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule on Jan. 6, returned on Friday at Nebraska and were hammered 91-62.

The Bulldogs are getting outscored by 10.7 points per game and are shooting 41.1 percent from the floor, including 26.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Coach Erik Martin has 11 players who are averaging at least 11 minutes per game, fulfilling what he said at the outset of the season.

“That’s the one plus about this year’s team. … When we’re healthy, I have 14 guys I can trust to put in the game. I just have to find the right buttons to push,” Martin said.

Davion Everett is the only Bulldogs player scoring in double figures with 10.4 points per game. He also leads in rebounding at 7.0.

–Field Level Media

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