Oklahoma State basketball: Top storylines for season opener vs. UT-Arlington

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Oklahoma State basketball will take on UT-Arlington in the team’s opener for the 2021-2022 men’s basketball season tonight at 7 p.m. CT, televised on ESPN+. Though this is the team’s regular-season debut, the Cowboys had one 76-68 exhibition win last week against Central Oklahoma to help prepare for this upcoming season.

OSU has played UT-Arlington 12 times since 1982 and has lost to the Mavericks only once.

The two teams met last season also in November, resulting in a 75-68 Cowboys win. First-team All-American Cade Cunningham led the way for the Pokes, scoring 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds while Isaac Likekele added nine points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists.

UT-Arlington competes in the Sun Belt Conference and has made the NCAA Tournament only once in program history, in 2008. The Mavericks lost to Memphis (featuring Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey) in the first round, although the Tigers were later forced to vacate the win.

UT-Arlington finished last season with a 13-13 (9-8 Sun Belt) overall record.

The Mavericks’ returning leading scorer is shooting guard David Azore, who averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds last year. The 6-foot-4 Houston native scored 14 points in the team’s loss to OSU in 2020.

Here are the top storylines for OSU as the team gets set for its 2021-2022 season opener:

3. New faces

There are plenty of new faces joining the Cowboys from the past spring and summer, and this is the time to see how they mesh on the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Tonight’s season opener will allow OSU fans to see some big names for the first time for an official game in a Cowboys uniform. Moussa Cisse signed with the team from Memphis in July after winning American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors. He blocked a total of 46 shots in 28 games and shot 55.2 percent from the floor while averaging 6.6 points per game.

The native of Conakry, Guinea is a former five-star high school recruit and scored 14 points in OSU’s exhibition win against UCO.

Former Booker T. Washington star and Kansas standout Bryce Thompson made the move to Stillwater this past offseason, too. He scored 11 points against UCO in just 23 minutes of action. Thompson is a potential go-to guy for Boynton and the Cowboys after the departure of Cunningham to the NBA.

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