Basketball: The Warrior Cleans the Glass

Ivan McFarlin has long been labled a "warrior" by head coach Eddie Sutton. The 6-foot-8 senior has always been willing to do whatever needs to be done to put the Cowboys on top. The majority of the past two seasons that has been playing out of position as a center instead of a power forward. McFarlin once again played the big man's role effectively in the Cowboys' 85-56 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday. He finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots.

The OSU coaching staff had put a premium in the game on outrebounding the Red Raiders. McFarlin was so effective that he caused his teammates to catch grief from Sutton during a second-half timeout.

"It was a TV time out and coach (Eddie Sutton) said we needed to get more rebounds," said McFarlin. "Terrence (Crawford) said we can't get any rebounds because Ivan already has them. That felt good for me. Coach (james) Dickey said we had to win the rebounding war."

"We were really disappointed at halftime because they had us in rebounds by one, and we had outrebounded them in Lubbock," said Dickey, the former Texas Tech head coach and current Cowboy assistant. "Kansas had 20 offensive rebounds against them on Monday night. We wanted to attack the glass. When you shoot the ball like we did you really eliminate some of the offensive rebounds, but Ivan really attacked the glass on the defense end and came away with some really tough rebounds."

McFarlin is another example of how this Oklahoma State team is playing much more like it did in last season's run to the Final Four. The win over Tech, which was witnessed by much of the country on CBS, was probably the Cowboys' best defensive effort of the season as they held a hot-shooting Red Raider squad to 34 percent from the field. Tech came in shooting 48 percent from the field.

The Cowboys outrebounded Texas Tech 40-32, and in the second half when they had Bob Knight's team on the ropes they delivered a knockout blow with a 50-30 second half performance, including a 16-6 start to the second 20 minutes. It was a butt kicking.

"They came here to kick our ass, and we came here to play basketball," said Knight in a compliment the requires you to have an understanding of how Knight thinks to know it was a compliment. "Their defense was as good as I have seen in a long time. The way they pressured, the way they moved, and the way they worked was the main difference in the game."

McFarlin's 12 points brings him to an even 1,400 for his career, the 11th player in Oklahoma State history to reach that mark. His 11 rebounds gives him 907 boards in his career and that is good for fourth on the all-time OSU list. Against Tech he passed Olus Holder who had 902 rebounds from 1975-78.

Most important to McFarlin is that he and his teammates are playing well, playing like they did down the stretch last season and their goal is the same to reach to the Final Four. Right now, it feels good.

"We just came out and played and had fun," said McFarlin. "We didn't worry about anybody if they made a mistake. That was the best thing I saw on the court was that we were all having fun. Everybody was smiling and cheering each other on. That is what Oklahoma State basketball is all about -- having fun, playing defense, and being dedicated to this University."

Don't forget rebounding. McFarlin always makes sure it's about rebounding too. The warrior's work is never done.

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