Cowboys continue perfect start

Oklahoma State’s Jeffrey Carroll is guarded by Connecticut’s Kentan Facey during the first half of the Cowboys’ 98-90 win over the Huskies on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — A stellar performance by Connecticut’s backcourt couldn’t overcome a strong showing from Oklahoma State’s own dynamic duo.

Jawun Evans scored 35 points and Phil Forte III added 18 as the Cowboys outlasted the Huskies for a 98-90 win Monday in the first round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Oklahoma State (4-0) advanced to a semifinal game today against North Carolina.

Jalen Adams scored 34 points for UConn (1-3), which had its eight-game Lahaina winning streak halted and will play Chaminade in a consolation game today. Rodney Purvis finished with 20 points.

“I think we saw the fight that a Kevin Ollie team is going to have,” said Cowboys coach Brad Underwood. “Tough, tenacious. I thought Rodney Purvis was off the charts. They get those kind of performances from the backcourt with he and Adams.”

Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte III attempts to find room to get away a shot while Jalen Adams of Connecticut defends during the first half. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Huskies lost Terry Larrier in the first half. The sophomore, who began the day as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game, went down about eight minutes in and had to be helped off the court as he favored his left leg. He spent the rest of the game on the bench with his knee wrapped in ice. Ollie said after the game that he didn’t have an update on Larrier’s condition but that his knee was “swelled up pretty well.”

Jeffrey Carroll also scored 18 points for Oklahoma State, and Cameron McGriff added 13.

Evans had six assists, and five of his team’s 18 steals.

“I love the fact that we had 18 steals,” Underwood said. “That’s a great number. That means we’re being active and bothersome.”

Evans, Forte and Carroll each made three 3-pointers.

OKLAHOMA St. Cowboys 97

Adams also had six assists, and was 4-for-4 from 3-point range, but committed 10 turnovers — nine in the first half, when he was limited to four points.

“I was looking too passive and just telegraphing all my passes,” Adams said. “In the second half my teammates kept encouraging me and I finally got my confidence back.”

UConn’s Vance Jackson had 13 points. Jackson and Purvis each sank three 3-pointers.

“Giving up 90 points still isn’t what we’re necessarily about,” Forte said. “We have some things that we have to finish, how to close the game and everything. In a tournament, you know, a win’s a win. We survive and advance.”

Adams’ 3-pointer with 16 seconds left made the score 94-90, but Evans and Forte each went 2-for-2 from the foul line to seal the win.

CONNECTICUT Huskies 69

“Oklahoma State, give them credit, played very, very hard,” Ollie said. “I just love my kids’

effort. They tried to get back in the game … but it was just a little bit too late. We’ve just got to start off a little stronger and we’ve got to take care of the ball a little bit more.”

* Colleen Uechi is at cuechi@mauinews.com.

OKLAHOMA ST. (98)

Solomon 0-0 1-2 1, Hammonds 2-6 2-2 7, Forte 4-8 7-8 18, Evans 10-26 12-17 35, Waters 0-1 1-2 1, McGriff 3-6 6-8 13, Averette 0-0 0-0 0, Carroll 7-9 1-2 18, Shine 2-5 0-0 5, N’Guessan 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 28-61 30-42 98.

CONNECTICUT (90)

Facey 0-1 2-2 2, Brimah 1-1 2-5 4, Adams 12-18 6-8 34, Purvis 5-10 7-12 20, Larrier 2-3 0-0 4, Durham  1-2 0-0 3, Jackson 3-8 4-4 13, Enoch 0-3 3-4 3, Vital 1-7 5-7 7. Totals 25-53 29-42 90.

Halftime–Oklahoma St. 40-26. 3-Point Goals–Oklahoma St. 12-20 (Carroll 3-3, Forte 3-4, Evans 3-5, McGriff 1-1, Shine 1-3, Hammonds 1-3, Waters 0-1), UConn 11-22 (Adams 4-5, Purvis 3-5, Jackson 3-6, Durham  1-1, Enoch 0-1, Vital 0-4). Fouled Out–Adams, N’Guessan, Hammonds. Rebounds–Oklahoma St. 35 (Carroll 8), UConn 34 (Adams, Brimah 6). Assists–Oklahoma St. 13 (Evans 6), UConn 12 (Adams 6). Total Fouls–Oklahoma St. 30, UConn 29. Technicals–UConn coach Ollie. A–240 (2,400).

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