Cowboys Fall to Longhorns

All signs pointed to Monday night's showdown with Texas in Austin being a set up for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Texas freshman standout LeMarcus Aldridge was out after hurting his hip Saturday night. There was talk of P.J. Tucker, the Longhorns best player, playing in his last game of the season because he could possibly be declared academically ineligible for the spring semester, which starts Tuesday.

The fifth-ranked Cowboys, plagued by foul trouble from the game's opening minutes, fell into that trap and suffered a 75-61 loss to the 11th-ranked Longhorns in a nationally televised "Big Monday" showdown on ESPN television.

OSU is now 13-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12, while Texas improved to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference.

The Cowboys should have known how this one was going to go when Terrence Crawford picked up his first foul just 1:08 into the game. Crawford was whistled for his second foul just 13 seconds later, and Oklahoma State would battle foul trouble throughout the entire game. Crawford eventually fouled out with 12:22 remaining in the game and Joey Graham followed him to the bench with five fouls at the 8:23 mark. Three other Cowboys -- Ivan McFarlin, Stevie Graham and Daniel Bobik -- each finished the game with four fouls.

OSU was whistled for 29 fouls while Texas only committed 15. The foul discrepancy was noticeable at the foul line, where the Longhorns made 25 of 28 free throws while the Cowboys were just 7 of 9 from the charity stripe.

But despite that, and a career performance from Texas freshman point guard Daniel Gibson (27 points and 10 rebounds), the Cowboys still had a chance with six minutes left in the game.

A three-pointer by John Lucas (who was just 5 of 16 from the field, including 4-of-12 from three-point range) pulled the Cowboys within 60-55 with 5:45 remaining. After Gibson scored and Tucker added two free throws, Lucas hit another trey to make it 64-58. But the Cowboys would get no closer as the Longhorns made 10-of-10 free throws down the stretch.

"I didn't think some of our guys played as hard, or as smart, as you need to to win on the road against a good basketball team like Texas," OSU head coach Eddie Sutton said. "I thought the first 10 or 11 minutes we played pretty well."

The Cowboys actually led 21-19 with 7:40 left in the first half following back-to-back baskets from Joey Graham and McFarlin. The Longhorns then went on a 20-6 run to close out the half and take a 39-27 halftime lead. OSU's only points in the final seven and a half minutes of the first half came on a pair of Lucas three-pointers.

But OSU got back in the game by holding the Longhorns scoreless for the 6:12 of the second half, pulling within 39-37 on a pair of Crawford free throws. After Tucker, who had been held scoreless in the first half, scored on a jump hook to break the Longhorns' scoreless drought, Crawford answered with another pair of free throws to pull within 41-39.

Texas scored the next eight points and never looked back en route to the victory.

"The thing we did poorly was you cannot let the ball get in deep under the basket, and that's what we allowed them to do," Sutton said. "Our defense was not good, and we had to foul. We fouled too much. You can't put a team in the double bonus in both halves. You can't foul 29 times against a good basketball team like Texas.

"Plus, we had a horrendous shooting night. We had only two guys who shot decent, Joey who was 6 of 7 and Ivan who was 8 of 14."

McFarlin led the Cowboys with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Lucas finished with 14 points despite struggling with his shooting, and Joey Graham contributed 12 before fouling out.

Gibson's 27 points led all scorers while Tucker added 15 (all in the second half) for the Longhorns.

"Gibson, for a freshman point guard, he is a tremendous basketball player," Sutton said. "It was a tremendous performance by him."

The Cowboys have time to regroup before returning to action Saturday when they host the Baylor Bears at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

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