STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—Oklahoma State hadn’t played at home in so long, the Cowboys appeared almost lost during the opening minutes of Saturday night’s game against Texas-San Antonio.
“It felt weird,” center Kenny Cooper said of the Cowboys’ first home game in four weeks.
But, eventually, order was restored for the 13th-ranked Cowboys, who overcame a sluggish start to rout outmanned UTSA 84-47 behind 24 points from JamesOn Curry and 13 points and 11 rebounds from Mario Boggan.
“I was pleased with how well we played the last 28 minutes,” Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said. “The first 12 minutes, we struggled with their defense. I thought they did a good job of taking us out of some things we were trying to run. Finally we settled down and started playing well.”
The Cowboys shot 55.2 percent from the field while recording their 13th win, matching the school record for victories before January, set during 2001-02.
It was Oklahoma State’s fourth win in as many tries against Texas-San Antonio (4-9). The Cowboys’ average margin of victory in those games is 28 points.
The Roadrunners scored the fewest points of any Oklahoma State opponent this season.
Oklahoma State (13-1) began the season by playing seven of its first nine games at home, but hadn’t appeared at Gallagher-Iba Arena since a Dec. 2 win over Pepperdine. Since then, the Cowboys have played games in New York, San Diego, Nashville, Tenn., and Oklahoma City. They had a nine-day layoff between a double-overtime win over Pittsburgh and Saturday’s game.
“I thought we would come out and be really sharp,” Sutton said. “We’ve had really good practices up to this point. It’s hard to say. A lot of it had to to with (UTSA’s) pressure.”
UTSA “played as hard as any team we’ve played all season long.”
UTSA’s first-year coach is former Oklahoma State star Brooks Thompson, a two-time All-Big Eight selection for the Cowboys in the early 1990s. He was hailed as “one of our own” and received a rousing ovation during the team introductions.
Thompson’s squad, which plays in the Southland Conference, then stuck with its Big 12 foe for the better part of a half.
“It’s the only game I’ve ever rooted against Oklahoma State in my life,” Thompson said. “They’ve got the greatest crowd in the country.”
Sutton burned three timeouts in the first 12 minutes and the Cowboys didn’t take the lead for good until two free throws by Curry with 9:57 left in the half made it 18-16.
With 10:39 left, a displeased Sutton ordered starting forward David Monds to leave the court area after the Cowboys gave up a fast-break basket. Monds did not play the rest of the game.
“I didn’t think that he was ready to play,” Sutton said. “He wasn’t playing with any passion. He lacked intensity. I told him to go to the dressing room. It’s happened in the past with other players. In my mind, it’s no different than being kicked out of practice. Hopefully he’ll get his mind right and come back to the practice court and be ready to go tomorrow.”
UTSA was within 26-22 with 5:32 left, but the Cowboys closed the half on a 16-2 run, highlighted by dunks by Cooper and Marcus Dove, to go up 42-24.
The Cowboys scored the first six points of the second half, ending any hopes of a UTSA comeback. Oklahoma State stretched its lead to as many as 37 points in the second half.
“Our guys got to see an environment that they won’t see in conference (play), and I was hoping they would have fought through adversity a little bit better than they did,” Thompson said.
Oklahoma State outrebounded the Roadrunners 39-21.
“I think that we built off of the momentum coming off the game against Pittsburgh the other night and we did a good job on the boards,” Sutton said.
Curry became the 29th Oklahoma State player to pass the 1,000-point career mark—and the seventh to do so as a junior—finishing the game with 1,008 points.
“I just try to go out there and play and eventually my shot will fall, like tonight,” Curry said. “I have been working on not picking up my dribble as much. I am still young and I am learning every day. … Everybody on this team is learning every day.”
Terrel Harris and Cooper each added 15 points for the Cowboys.
Melvin Smith scored 16 points to lead UTSA, while Keith Spencer had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Oklahoma State has one nonconference game remaining, at home on Jan. 2, against NCAA Division II Southwestern Oklahoma State.