Oklahoma State 73, Arkansas 58

Razorbacks fall in former Arkansas and current Oklahoma State head coach Eddie Sutton's first coaching appearance in Fayetteville in almost 20 years.

It wasn't as bad numerically as last year, but it didn't hurt any less.

Oklahoma State University overcame 13 first-half turnovers with good shooting, solid defense and toughness and whipped Arkansas 73-58 before a season-high crowd of 18,917 at Bud Walton Arena that included what was likely the largest visiting fan contingent in the building.

"It was not the kind of outcome we wanted for our Razorback team," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said, "but our kids played hard and really fought and competed throughout the game.

"Boy we had a lot of breaks that just didn't go our way between a half-court shot, a ball loose that gets tipped around and they go in," Heath added. "I can think of three or four different times when those kind of situations happened and I think it got us a little frustrated."

Tony Allen scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, John Lucas 14 and Ivan McFarlin 13 to lead the Cowboys (6-1), who had roughed up the youthful and shell-shocked Razorbacks 71-45 a year ago in Stillwater's Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The visitors' victory made it a happy return to Fayetteville for former Arkansas and current OSU head coach Eddie Sutton, who had not coached a game in the city since his last one as a Razorback head coach on March 2, 1985 at Barnhill Arena. It was Sutton's 300th victory at OSU.

"It was kind of eerie when I first went out there and they started calling those Hogs and played the Razorback fight song," Sutton said. "There were a lot of good memories for me at the University of Arkansas in those 11 years here.

"Arkansas has a young team and we have some players that have been with us a number of years. Stan (Heath) and the ball team will be alright in time, especially when they get some size in here ... those guys they signed."

Sutton said he "scolded" his team at halftime after 13 turnovers, and was pleased it limited the turnovers to three in the second half.

"We have been doing a great job with turnovers, with just eight and 10 in our last two games," Sutton said. "I scolded them at half. We did better in the second half and this was a good wins for us."

It also marked the return of current OSU assistant and former UA assistant James Dickey.

Jonathan "Pookie" Modica had 21 of his 23 points after intermission and Ronnie Brewer had 15 and 6 rebounds to lead the Razorbacks (6-2), who lost for the first time at home this year in six games.

"We weren't really able to get Jonathon going until the game was kind of out of hand," Heath said. "That was a factor. They did a good job keying in on him."

It also ended its modest two-game win streak end with the loss in a game in which 6-6 point junior college point guard recruit Dontell Jefferson was on hand.

Arkansas shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half, but even more horrendous at the free throw line by making just 1 of 7 tosses from the charity stripe.

The Razorbacks would end up shooting 35 percent from the field, 4 of 23 from 3-point land and 52.2 percent from the free throw line (12 of 23).

"I thought we had some really good looks at the basket - some lay-ups, some open shots and some free throws," Heath said. "We were one for seven in the first half. You take away the half-court three-pointer and it's a tie ballgame if you make your free throws. We just didn't put ourselves in position to win a game like this one." I told our team those are plays we just have to make."

They had 12 assists and 12 turnovers while Oklahoma State had 18 turnovers, but shot 51 percent from the field, 70 percent from the line and outrebounded Arkansas 42-31.

Ironically, Arkansas actually had 15 offensive rebounds to OSU's 11, but it seemed as if the Cowboys all came at the right time and they finished them.

"There were times in the game when it seemed like the rebounding and the size factor just did us in," Heath said, "being able to defend them, stop them, but then an offensive rebound or a tip-in got the ball in the hole (for Oklahoma State)."

The game was tight early on with Brewer's slam actually giving Arkansas a 17-15 lead with 6:14 left in the opening half before Oklahoma State slowly and methodically began to take control despite its miscues handling the ball.

They took the lead back on Daniel Bobick's 3-pointer and scored 19 of the game's next 22 points that ended with a in a period that extended through halftime.

That included Baylor transfer Lucas' halfcourt 3-pointer at the first half buzzer that put his team up 29-20 and the first five points after intermission.

"I wouldn't say it (the half-court shot) was devastating, but it was a momentum play that actually (you) kind looked of and were like 'what else can go wrong?'

"...We did what we were supposed to do," Heath continued. "We got a good shot with about two seconds left to go on the clock, the ball went in and out and then they get the ball and get a three. That's three we didn't get and three they. A six-point turnaround just like that."

Allen's lay-up made it 34-20 for the visitors with 18:39 remaining and the lead then crested at 17 soon afterwards on lay-up that pushed it to 49-32 with 12:00 left in the contest on Allen's lay-up.

Unlike last year on the road, Arkansas didn't go away without a fight this time as its home crowd energized the Razorbacks to score the next seven points and 9 of the next 11 points.

The UA squad got within 50-41 on Wenbos Mukubu's lay-up at the 8:25 mark, but Oklahoma State responded itself and had it back up to 61-45 when Allen tipped in a miss with 3:24 still left on the clock.

Brewer said the game was what he expected, tough and physical.

"We knew what to expect," Brewer said. "Those guys are very physical and know how to knock you around. They did that to us. It was very, very physical."

Rashard Sullivan, the 6-8, 235-pound Arkansas sophomore forward, played one of his better games of the season for Arkansas with five rebounds, three blocks shots and two steals while going scoreless in 24 minutes.

"Rashard stepped up in this game and he brought a lot of intense plays out there on the court," Heath said. "He was blocking shots, hustling back on defense to knock a ball out of bounds and really did a good job on the rebounding end."

Heath was pleased with the crowd turnout, which probably included 18,500 of his own fans and 400 or so of Oklahoma State's orange-clad fans.

"Terrific crowd, terrific crowd," Heath said. "It was a game we really wanted to have here at home and we were excited to see the fans turn out and give us some energy in the building and if things were going our way pick us up a little bit. We just wish we could have done a little bit more on our part to keep the fans into the game and possibly pull off a big upset."

Arkansas returns to the court quickly as it hosts Western Carolina on Monday night at 7:05 and then takes a break for Christmas before traveling to face Tulsa on Dec. 30.


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