LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) Oklahoma State's relentless pressure caused havoc against lesser opponents through the first three games.
It worked just as well in the Cowboys' first true test this season.
Jawun Evans had 35 points and five of Oklahoma State's 18 steals, lifting the Cowboys to a 98-90 win over Connecticut Monday night in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
''I love the fact we had 18 steals. That's a great number,'' Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood said. ''That means we're being active and bothersome now.''
Oklahoma State (4-0) jumped on the Huskies from the opening tip, turning one steal after another into points in transition. The Cowboys hit five 3-pointers during an opening 18-3 run and finished 12 for 20 from the arc.
Jeffrey Carroll and Phil Forte had 18 points each, helping Oklahoma State move on to the second round against No. 4 North Carolina or Chaminade.
Evans also had six assists, four rebounds and one turnover.
''These two guys are awfully hard to guard and that's a great weapon,'' Underwood said of Evans and Forte.
The Huskies lost sophomore forward Terry Larrier to a left leg injury in the first half.
''I just love my kids' effort. They tried to get back in the game,'' UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. ''I think we cut it to four, but it was just a little bit too late. And we just have to start off a little stronger and we've got to take care of the ball a little bit more.''
The Cowboys used their relentless pressure and ability to score in transition to average 107 points their first three games. Those came against lesser opponents, so Maui represented their first true test.
Oklahoma State was at its harassing best against UConn early, forcing Huskies guard Jalen Adams to turn it over six times in the opening five minutes. The Cowboys turned many of those into transition 3-pointers, hitting 5 of 8 while opening with an 18-3 run.
The Huskies held their ground for the rest of the half, though it did little good. Oklahoma State led 40-26 at halftime behind Evans' 16 points.
UConn finally started to get a handle on Oklahoma State's pressure and got some defensive stops, trimming the Cowboys' lead to seven with about five minutes left.
The Huskies hit a pair of late 3-pointers, but Evans finished them off by hitting three free throws in the final 29 seconds.
''We definitely can build off of it,'' Purvis said. ''Our main thing is we just got to get off to a good start and take care of the basketball.''
Freshman Vance Jackson recorded his first-career double-digit scoring performance with 13 points.
UConn will play on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (ET) against the loser of the North Carolina-Chaminade game. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
UCONN OFFICIAL STORE
UCONN OFFICIAL AUCTIONS