Keep Isaac Likekele from taking over
True freshman Cade Cunnigham is Oklahoma State’s star but the real catalyst for their team is point guard Isaac Likekele. And in the first meeting between these two teams, he stuffed the stat sheet in a huge way.
In addition to scoring 17 points on 7-14 shooting, Likekele grabbed seven rebounds, handed out three assists, came up with three steals, and even hit a 3-pointer (something he is not adept at doing). Tech can’t allow him to have that type of performance again tonight.
But there is a catch. According to John Rothstein, a foot injury has made the junior from Arlington, Texas a game-time decision for this evening. Should he be unable to play, it would be a huge turn of events in favor of the Red Raiders.
In addition to leading his team in rebounds (7.0 per game) and assists (3.8 per game), the 6-foot-5 guard is OSU’s second-leading scorer at 10.2 p.p.g. In other words, he is the heart and soul of the Cowboys and his potential absence would be devastating.
But assuming he plays, Tech has to do a better job of keeping Likekele from getting to the middle of the lane. Not a good jump shooter, he does most of his work off of the dribble and lives to get into the paint where he can score or distribute the basketball.
Only once this year has LIkekele surpassed the 17 points he put up against Tech back in January. Two days after that game, he had 22 points against West Virginia.
But in six of his last seven games, he’s failed to score in double digits and he’s not topped 10 points since January 9th. Tech must keep that streak intact tonight (should Likekele play) because if he has the same type of impact in this one that he had in Lubbock, it won’t bode well for the Red Raiders.