Rondel Walker looked good playing in a teal N7 jersey on Saturday night.
The Putnam City West High School graduate was used to playing basketball in teal colored jerseys, and it showed in Oklahoma State’s 85-65 defeat of Texas Southern University.
“You know what they say, if you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you play good,” Walker said.
Walker was second on the team in scoring with 19 points. He also had three rebounds and did so in only 23 minutes of play.
“Rondel was really putting it in for us,” coach Mike Boynton said. “He lifted us up, helped in some spots (with) some timely baskets around the rim, which was something we really needed against that zone.”
The timeliest of baskets came in a critical juncture of the game: late in the second half when OSU point guard Cade Cunningham checked out of the game after getting in foul trouble. When Cunningham, the Cowboys leading scorer, left the game with 7:26 remaining in the first half, his team was up 27-19.
In the stretch, Walker had two crowd-energizing plays when he got fouled at the rim but still made his shot. Walker knocked down both free throws, and the six points his plays amounted to were pivotal to the game’s outcome. The Cowboys would enter halftime leading 41-30, having built on their lead without their best playmaker on the floor.
“Those (and ones were) huge plays,” Boynton said, “and they went a long way to make the team more confident in the second half.”
The Cowboys’ confidence manifested in a fantastic shooting. They shot 45.8% from the field and 41.7% from deep. They enjoyed a large double-digit lead for the majority of it and a vicious Matthew-Alexander Moncrief dunk provided the exclamation point fans were hoping to see.
Walker, who played his first career game in Gallagher-Iba Arena got a standing ovation from the crowd.
“(The ovation) felt good,” Walker said. I’ve been envisioning a moment like this as a kid watching games on tv and being like, ‘That’s going to be me one day.’ Being my first game in my home state made it that much better.”