Here Comes Sutton's Cowboys

Helped by cold shooting Cougars, the Gonzaga Bulldogs managed to hold off WSU for a 7th-straight win. The Zags meet the second defense-minded team 48 hours later in the form of an immensely talented Oklahoma State team in the third annual Battle in Seattle held in Key Arena.

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Head Coach: Eddie Sutton
Last Season: 26-7
Postseason: Lost in NCAA Sweet 16
This Season: 6-2 with wins over Texas-Arlington, Jackson State, Detroit, Texas Christian, UNLV and SMU, and losses to Boston College and Northwestern State

2005/06 Outlook: the Pokes return just four letterman from last year's sweet 16 bunch, but 3 of those 4 players saw few minutes last year. The key returnee is super sophomore JamesOn Curry. However, Coach Sutton brought in one of the nation's best recruiting classes, and some really talented Juco transfers. It may take some time for all the pieces to fit, but Sutton is an extraordinary coach, and a team with this much talent is bound to be better than many expect.

Key players:

#00 PG Byron Eaton (5-11, freshman. 2005/06 = 9.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 47% FG, 29% 3PT, 75% FT)
Thick, strong freshman point guard who was a 2005 McDonald's All American. Was also a standout prep football player in high school. Solid floor leader, but like most freshman point guards, has been turnover prone at times. Provides good on the ball pressure leading to steals.

#24 G JamesOn Curry (6-3, soph. 2005/06 = 11.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, 38% FG, 42% 3PT, 61% FT)
Pure scorer. Started 15 of OSU's final 16 games last season. Great shooter with great instincts for putting the ball in the hoop. Willing to take big shots. Is the all-time leading high school scorer for the state of North Carolina.

#5 F Marcus Dove (6-9, soph. 2005/06 = 4.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 58% FG, 87% FT)
Versatile wing with solid all around game. Lock down perimeter defender. Leads OSU in blocks per game.

#4 F Mario Boggan (6-7, junior. 2005/06 = 12.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 61% FG, 72% FT)
Originally signed with Florida, but left after one year. Attended Chipola Junior College last season. Has lost a lot of weight. Strong physical post presence in the middle with shooting range out to 15 feet. Has been OSU's most impressive player thus far.

#32 C David Monds (6-8, junior. 2005/06 = 10.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 53% FG, 72% FT)
Solid rebounder with nice athleticism. Has scored in double digits the last 4 games.

#10 G Jamaal Brown (5-10, junior. 2005/06 = 5.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 41% FG, 39% 3PT, 70% FT)
Highly sought after Juco point guard who attended the College of Southern Idaho last year. Strong, very quick and explosive with a high basketball IQ. Had 18 points in OSU's last game.

#55 F Torre Johnson (6-6, junior. 2005/06 = 12.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 58% FG, 68% FT)
Another highly sought after Juco kid who picked OSU over Arizona, Cincinnati and others. Provides instant offense off the bench. Has been scoring lots of points of late.

#12 G/F Roderick Flemings (6-7, freshman. 2005/06 = 4.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 39% FG, 77% FT)
One of the most highly sought after recruits in the state of Texas last year. Solid all around game. Good rebounder.

As evidenced by their quality depth, Sutton has his Cowboys scoring with balance and from inside and outside. But the hallmark of every Eddie Sutton team is defense, mainly man-to-man. They will get up into the grills of the Zags and try to force turnovers or bad shots, then fast break with precision for easy points. Gonzaga will have to play smart, aggressively and with poise in order to have a chance to win this contest.

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