OSU-Nebraska: Preview

Oklahoma State will travel to Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday night attempting to win its seventh game in a row and maintain its hold on sole possession of first place in the Big 12 Conference. The Cowboys, who moved up to fourth in both the Associated Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll released Monday, will face the Cornhuskers at Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST) and the game will be broadcast in the state of Oklahoma on the Cowboy Sports Network.

Oklahoma State, which took over sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with Oklahoma's victory over Kansas on Monday night, is on a six-game winning streak to improve its record to 20-3 overall and 10-2 in the conference. Nebraska is 10-12 ovrall and 4-8 in conference play, and most recently suffered a 56-53 loss to Missouri in the Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night. The game will be televised in the state of Oklahoma on the Cowboy Sports Network with announcers John Holcomb (play-by-play) and Bryndon Manzer (analyst).

The Cowboys moved up on Monday to fourth in both polls – the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' rankings. OSU is No. 3 in the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) that is used to help determine seedings for the NCAA Tournament.

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 59-49. OSU, however, has won the last three games and five of the last six. The Cowboys are 2-2 in the Bob Devaney Center since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97. Since 1988, OSU is 20-8 against Nebraska.

Oklahoma State has begun playing its best basketball of the season in the last few weeks. The Cowboys are battling Kansas for the top spot in the Big 12 Conference after winning six in a row, including this past Saturday's impressive 85-56 victory over Texas Tech in front of a national television audience (CBS Sports) at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Seniors Joey Graham and John Lucas – both among the players named on the Naismith Trophy's Midseason Top 30 list – receive most of the attention, and deservedly so, since they lead the Cowboys in scoring. But freshman JamesOn Curry has played an important role in the Cowboys' success since being inserted into the starting lineup six games ago. Curry averaged 5.8 points and made 31.7 percent of his three-point attempts in his first 17 college games. In his last six games, since being named a starter by Eddie Sutton, he is averaging 14.3 points and making 62.1 from behind the three-point arc. Joey Graham is second in the Big 12 in scoring (averaging 18.0 points per game) and Lucas ranks third (17.9). Graham is third in the league in field goal percentage (56.4) and second in free throw percentage (86.9). Ivan McFarliin is fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding by averaging 7.6 boards to lead OSU which leads the league in rebounding margin at +7.1.

Nebraska has just one player averaging in double figures entering Tuesday night's game. Freshman Joe McCray leads the Cornhuskers with 15.0 points per game. The 6-foot-5 McCray is shooting 40.1 percent from the field, including 35.3 percent from three-point range, and averaging 4.9 rebounds. McCray is joined in the starting lineup by senior guard Jake Muhleisen, who ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.85). He also averages 7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Nebraska got a strong performance for the duo of 6-11 Aleks Maric and 6-9 John Turek against the Cowboys. Those two combined for 23 points and 17 rebounds against Missouri. The Cornhuskers have lost five of their last seven games, including home contests to Missouri (56-53), Iowa State (65-60) and Kansas (78-65). Their record at the Bob Devaney Center this season is 8-6 with Big 12 Conference victories over Kansas State (95-85 in double overtime) and Texas A&M (77-67).

F: 14 Joey Graham (6-7, 225, Sr., 18.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
F: 23 Ivan McFarlin (6-8, 240, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
G: 15 John Lucas (5-11, 165, Sr., 17.9 ppg, 4.7 apg)
G: 20 Daniel Bobik (6-5, 210, Sr., 6.5 ppg, 3.5 apg)
G: 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, Fr., 8.0 ppg, 2.3 apg)
G: 21 Stephen Graham (6-6, 215, Sr., 7.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
F: 42 Terrence Crawford (6-6, 230, Sr., 4.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

C: 31 Aleks Maric (6-11, 265, Fr., 7.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
F: 44 John Turek (6-9, 245, Sr., 8.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
G: 2 Joe McCray (6-5, 210, Fr., 15.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.3 apg)
G: 12 Jake Muhleisen (6-4, 200, Sr., 7.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G: 3 Charles Richardson (5-9, 160, So., 1.4 ppg, 1.7 apg)
G: 1 Jason Dourisseau (6-5, 195, Jr., 9.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
G: 10 Marcus Neal (6-0, 180, Sr., 9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg)
F: 11 Wes Wilkinson (6-9, 215, Jr., 7.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

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