Crawford, a 6-foot-6 favorite of Cowboy fans, could possibly crack the starting lineup against SMU tonight for the first time since starting as a freshman against UNLV on Dec, 2, 2000. Crawford may have earned the right to start with his play in the Cowboys' 73-57 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday night.
The senior from Oklahoma City had nine points. six rebounds, two assists, a steal and a bloc ked shot in just 24 minutes of play as the came off the bench to give the Cowboys a spark against the Bearkats. Crawford started the second half as the Cowboys went with a smaller lineup against Sam Houston State.
"He's slowly, gradually challenging for a starting position," said OSU head coach designate Sean Sutton. "I think he makes a better effort, in terms of our frontline players than anybody on our team, in going after rebounds, and going after loose balls. He's gotten more confident on offense, but he knows his role.
"His role is to play defense, rebound the basketball and make everybody on the court better. Him and Daniel (Bobik), both of those guys, are very unselfish. You've got to have guys like that if you're going to have a good team."
Frans Steyn has started the first three games of the season, but he only played nine minutes in Saturday night's victory.
SMU (2-0) is coached by first-year coach Jimmy Tubbs, a former assistant to Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma. The Mustangs were just 12-18 a year ago, and it cost coach Mike Dement his job. But Dement left some talent for Tubbs.
Forward Partrick Simpson (6-9) is averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds, including a 23-point, 12-rebound effort in the Mustangs' 69-61 win over Montana State in Bozeman, Mont. Also scoring in double figures for SMU are 6-6 foward Devin Pearson (14.5 points), 6-0 point guard Byran Hopkins (13.5) and 6-8 center Eric Castro (12.0).
"I think it will be a tough game," Sutton said. "We'll be probably their biggest crowd of the year. I'm sure their guys will be extremely motivated after what happened last year in the Ford Center (when OSU beat SMU 89-54). They've got a better team. I've been impressed with how Jimmy's coached this team. They've been extremely aggressive defensively, and they've done a good job executing the stuff they're running on offense.
"This is a tough stretch for us. You think about SMU Monday, Washington State Saturday (in Gallagher-Iba Arena), Syracuse next Tuesday (in New York City), UAB Friday (in Stillwater) and then we go to UNLV (Dec. 18), come home and play a game before Christmas (against Northwestern Oklahoma State on Dec. 21), and then you've got Gonzaga (on Dec. 28). So I think we're going to find out a whole lot more about our team the next 2-3 weeks."
Tonight's game can be seen throughout Oklahoma on the Cowboy Sports Network (Cox Cable 7 in Oklahoma City, in Tulsa on UPN-Cox Cable 10, and in Stillwater on KWEM-TV 31, or Cox Cable 3).
Poke Basketball Notes
1) With a victory over SMU, Eddie Sutton will record his 759th career win and move into a tie for eighth place on the all-time coaching victories list for Division I with Ed Diddle (whose coaching career came to an end in 1964 at Western Kentucky). After passing Diddle, next up for Sutton will be the legendary Henry Iba, who sits in seventh place with 767 career victories.
2) John Lucas can move into the top 25 on the Big 12 Conference career scoring charts with 11 points tonight against SMU. Lucas has 1,356 points. He spent his first two seasons at Baylor before transferring to Oklahoma State last season.
Basketball: OSU vs. SMU
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