Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton is expecting to have his team leader back on the court Monday.
Junior Isaac Likekele has missed the past two games with a foot injury, but Boynton told the media Friday that he would bet on Likekele playing when the Cowboys host No. 15 Texas Tech at 8 p.m. Monday.
It would be the first game for Likekele in 14 days. His last game was at Kansas on Jan. 8.
“He practiced (Thursday) about 75%. (Friday) he went about 80%,” Boynton said. “We’ve got a couple more days to get him up to speed. I would think he’d be ready to go come Monday.”
The Cowboys earned an overtime win at Texas Tech on Jan. 2 with Likekele playing one of his best games of the season. He tallied 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first game against the Red Raiders.
Likekele played through his foot injury for a while, and Boynton said Likekele would have probably chosen to play against Iowa State if it were his decision.
“I have to help him help himself and keep the big picture in mind for our team,” Boynton said. “Not only this year but for long term for the program. I can see the last two days he’s much better than he was the practices leading up to the Texas and KU games.”
Having Likekele back on the court will add another strong defender to help contain Texas Tech guard Mac McClung, who scored a game-high 21 points in the last outing. The OSU defense has played well recently, averaging 6.8 blocks and 8.3 steals in the last six games. Adding Likekele back into the lineup should help the Cowboy keep up the defensive intensity.
“I feel like it’s going amazing right now,” sophomore Avery Anderson III said of the defense. “Everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do on defense. Talking, blocking shots, being in the right position on defense and helping each other.”
A win against the Red Raiders would be OSU’s fourth win over a top-15 opponent. The Cowboys have two Bedlam games left on the regular-season schedule and possibly two rescheduled games, against No. 13 West Virginia and No. 2 Baylor.