Sutton: One of 10 Worst Performances Ever

This wasn't what the Oklahoma State Cowboys expected at this point of the season. The Cowboys, who moved up to fourth in the national polls on Monday, had been playing their best basketball of the season in recent weeks. Nebraska, on the other hand, was struggling and had lost four of its last five games. But none of that mattered Tuesday night as the Cornhuskers upset the Cowboys 74-67 in Lincoln, Neb.

The loss, while disappointing, does not change the importance of Oklahoma State's showdown with Kansas on Sunday afternoon with first-place in the Big 12 Conference on the line. The Cowboys and Jayhawks both will enter Sunday's game with 10-3 league records, and the winner will be in control with just two games remaining.

The victory by Nebraska was the program's first over a top 10 team since Feb. 22, 1997. The Cornhuskers were 0-19 in the last eight years against top 10 teams.

"I've coached a long time and I think that was one of the 10 worst performances that I've ever been a part of," OSU head coach Eddie Sutton said on his postgame radio show. Sutton was coaching in his 1,071st game.

"That's a great example of if you let a team hang around, especially on the road, and let the crowd get into the game, anything can happen," Sutton said.

The Cowboys have aspirations of earning a No. 1 seed and were sitting in a good position to earn a top seed after moving up to No. 4 in both polls and No. 3 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) used to help seed teams for the NCAA Tournament.

"We were in a position ... it's like taking a big test and you just don't dedicate yourself to studying for it and you mess up, and then you look back with regrets," Sutton said. "I think that's what these guys will do is look back and wonder why they didn't play better. We talked to them all day long that this would not be an easy game."

But it started off that way. The Cowboys went on a 13-0 run early in the first half to take a 18-7 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Instead of putting the Cornhuskers away they allowed them to come back and tie it up 32-32 at halftime.

Nebraska, now 13-12 and 5-8 in the Big 12, scored the first 10 points of the second half and the Cowboys were playing catch-up the rest of the night. They pulled within 57-50 on Stephen Graham's free throw with 3:55 remaining, but Nebraska freshman Joe McCray completed a conventional three-point play seconds later and the Huskers were back up by 10. The closest OSU would get the rest of the way was six (71-65) but that was with 14 seconds left.

The Cowboys were averaging almost 18 free throws in Big 12 play but only went to the charity stripe eight times (and made six) against the Cornhuskers. Nebraska had been letting its opponents go to the free-throw line an average of 23 times a game in Big 12 action.

"We only get to the line eight times ... and you can't win basketball games, I don't care who you play, if you don't get to the line," Sutton said.

John Lucas led the Cowboys with 20 points, Daniel Bobik finished with 14 and Joey Graham contributed 12.

But Sutton was disappointed in the play of his seniors.

"Look at the seniors. Joey was nonexistent out there. Then Ivan didn't have a very good game. Stevie didn't. Overall, it was a horrible performance," Sutton said. "Hopefully we can learn something from this."

Nebraska entered the game shooting 42.3 from the field, but made 27-of-48 shots against the Cowboys (56.3 percent). Center Alexs Maric was 7-of-10 from the field for a career-high 15 points. McCray led all scorers with 22 points, and was 7-of-12 from the field.

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