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Cowboys Hosting Campbell In Official Underwood Opener

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The Brad Underwood era officially begins Friday night when the Cowboys host the Campbell Camels of the Big South Conference at 7:00 p.m. CT in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Camels return three starters from last year’s 12-18 team including the Big South Freshman of the Year, Chris Clemons. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 18.5 points per game a season ago and had three 30-point games.

Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said he’s excited to bring his squad cross country (Campbell University is in Buies Creek, North Carolina) for the first game of the season.

“Going to play in such an incredible basketball environment is going to be an exciting thing for our guys,” McGeehan said. “Any kind of butterflies get knocked out pretty quick when the other team is good and big and there’s a crowd behind them.”

As for OSU, Underwood’s team looked impressive in a 117-64 exhibition win against Pitt State last Tuesday. The Cowboys shot 65 percent from the field and a blistering 14-for-22 from three-point range. Jeffrey Carroll led the team with 22 points while freshmen Cameron McGriff and Lindy Waters had 16 and 15 points respectively.

Their new head coach was more pleased with effort than execution though.

“We forced 29 turnovers, those are opportunities. We are plus 17 in field goal attempts, I will take that every night,” Underwood said after the exhibition. “That means we are creating opportunities that lead to fast-break points or easy baskets. Those are things when you don't have to face the opponents defense. We have to get better, we left a lot out there tonight. For the first time out I was pretty positive.”

The Cowboys started Jawun Evans, Phil Forte, Tavarius Shine, Leyton Hammonds and Mitchell Solomon last week with Carroll coming off the bench. Carroll and Shine are basically interchangeable at the 3 with each bringing a slightly different skill set to the starting lineup depending on what Underwood sees in a matchup.

Three freshmen - McGriff, Waters and Brandon Averette - look to be in line for sizable roles this season and sophomore wing Davon Dillard could factor in eventually as well.

Following Friday’s season opener, the Pokes will host Central Arkansas (Nov. 14th) and New Orleans (Nov. 16th) before going to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational which begins Monday, Nov. 21st against No. 18 Connecticut.

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