Basketball: Showdown in NYC

Ivan McFarlin remembers the last time he was on the same basketball court against Syracuse. The Oklahoma State Cowboys faced the Orangemen in a second-round game of the NCAA Tournament on March 23, 2003, and jumped out to a 27-10 lead midway through the first half. But from that point on it was all Syracuse as the Orangemen rallied for a 68-56 victory. Two weeks later, behind the play of freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse defeated Kansas to capture the national championship.

McFarlin, the lone Cowboy on this year's to have played in the game in 2003, will get a chance for redemption when fifth-ranked Oklahoma State (5-0) faces fourth-ranked Syracuse (7-0) in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tipoff is scheduled about 8:30 p.m. (Central time), and the game will be telecast on ESPN. The first game involves Memphis vs. Pittsburgh.

"This is a big, important game for college basketball and for ourselves," said McFarlin, who had eight points and eight rebounds in the Cowboys' 81-29 victory over Washington State this past Saturday. "We jsut need to come out and play like we played (in the win over Washington State) – come out and play with intensity; come out and get an early lead on them."

McFarlin is one of three Cowboys scoring in double figures entering the game against Syracuse. Point guard John Lucas has been sensational throughout the first two weeks of the season, and leads the team in scoring with a 21.2 point average. Joey Graham is right behind Lucas, averaging 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. McFarlin is chipping in with 10.2 points.

Hakim Warrick, a 6-foot-8 forward, leads the Orange in scoring (19.9 points) and rebounding (9.3). Gerry McNamara, who came off the bench in the 2003 NCAA Tournament game to torch the Cowboys with several three-pointers, averages 15.1 points.

Three Wooden Award candidates, given annually to the best player in the nation, will play in the game – OSU's Lucas and the Orange's Warrick and McNamara.

"They have great players," McFarlin said. "McNamara is a great three-point shooter. Hakim Warrick is probably one of the best players in college basketball right now."

Two of the best college coaches ever will be on the sidelines. OSU's Eddie Sutton ranks eighth on the all-time win list with 760 victories. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has 682 career victories and ranks 19th.

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