Basketball: Late Night With Eddie

Are you ready for Late Night With Eddie Sutton and the Cowboys? That's what Oklahoma State fans are in for Friday night when the Cowboys host Alabama-Birmingham at Gallagher-Iba Arena in a showdown of two of the only 22 NCAA Division I basketball schools remaining this season. Tipoff for the nationally televised game (ESPN2) is scheduled for 9 p.m. (Central Time).

The fifth-ranked Cowboys (6-0) are coming off Tuesday night's impressive 74-60 victory over fourth-ranked Syracuse in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The win was the ninth in the last 10 games for the Cowboys against opponents ranked in the Top 25 Associated Press poll, dating back to Jan. 14, 2004. The only loss to a ranked opponent was to 14th-ranked Georgia Tech (64-62) in the Final Four.

Alabama-Birmingham, although not ranked in this week's Associated Press poll, enters the game with a 4-0 record. The Blazers advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last March with upset wins over Washington (102-100) and Kentucky (76-65) before losing to Kansas (100-74).

But only two returning starters – forward Demario Eddins and guard Carldell Johnson – are back from that team. Eddins is averaging 12.8 points a game this season (second best on the team) while Johnson is averaging 4.8 points and 5.3 assists. Guard Donell Taylor leads the Blazers by averaging 16 points a game.

The Blazers average nearly 80 points a game. Coach Mike Anderson, a longtime assistant to Nolan Richardson before taking over at UAB three years ago, likes his team to push the ball up the floor and score points – which is just the opposite of OSU's last two opponents (Syracuse and Washington State).

OSU's balanced scoring attack showed in the way against Syracuse with Stephen Graham, Ivan McFarlin and Joey Graham each scoring 16 points. JamesOn Curry also added nine points. The Cowboys were able to win despite John Lucas, who entered the game averaging better than 21 points, going 2-of-11 from the field and finishing with only five points (two on a basket as the game's final buzzer sounded).

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