Poke Notes: OSU to OKC?

A second consecutive Big 12 Tournament championship would be nice but the Cowboys have already accomplished part of what they came to Kansas City to do – convince the NCAA Tournament selection committee to send Oklahoma State to the Ford Center in Oklahoma City for its first- and second-round games.

It was believed by many, although no one really knows for sure, that OSU, Kansas and Oklahoma were in a race for two of the spots in the eight-team field in Oklahoma City. With OSU defeating Kansas, and OU losing to Texas Tech, have the Cowboys assured themselves of playing their first two games in OKC?

"I would be disappointed if we don't get to go to Oklahoma City," OSU head coach Eddie Sutton said. "We have been east 11 out of 12 times. I don't want them to show favoritism but I think we earned the right to go to Oklahoma City by winning this afternoon."

Oklahoma State, seeded third in the Big 12 Tournament, will face fourth-seeded Texas Tech, which upset No. 1-seeed OU 69-63 earlier Saturday. The Cowboys have already beaten the Red Raiders twice this season – 76-66 in the Big 12 opener on Jan. 8 in Lubbock and again 85-56 on Feb. 19 in Stillwater.

The Cowboys will need to stop the Red Raiders' high-scoring guard duo of Ronald Ross and Jarrius Jackson, who scored 50 of their team's 69 points against the Sooners. Ross finished with 28 points and Jackson contributed 22.

In OSU's 29-point win in Stillwater, Ross was held to just 10 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field and Jackson scored just eight points while shooting 3-of-10. OSU guards John Lucas and JamesOn Curry combined for 40 points in the win, with Lucas scoring 25 and Curry adding 15.

Sutton was pleased to see Joey Graham go to the free-throw line 11 times (and he made 10), including four in a row in the last 42 seconds as the Cowboys held on for the win.

"Our staff has been on Joey," Sutton said. "I think I told some of you the first seven games in conference play he was 45 out of 47 at the line. In the last part of the season he was 10 of 12. What that shows is you're passive, you are not driving the ball and he's such a great free throw shooter and even until tonight he really hadn't been getting to the line as much as we'd like.

"When he drives the ball he's going to get fouled because he's so strong and he has got the athletic ability, so we have encouraged that and encouraged that, but sometimes even tonight, and he played a whale of a game, but he only gets one rebound. So it shows up there too. He's not rebounding the ball like he needs to for us to continue to win."

"Coach has been on me the last couple of weeks about being aggressive and shooting more free throws because I think coach said before the game that me and John Lucas were 112 for 117 for the conference," Joey Graham said. "So, when he said that, that just told me I've got to stay aggressive, get to the free-throw line as many times as possible, just knock down my free throws."

Sutton then interrupted Graham, saying "Coach Sutton also told him the team that got to the line the most is going to win the game."

"He definitely told us that too," Joey said.

The Cowboys shot 24 free throws (making 19) while the Jayhawks went to the line 10 times (making eight).

John Lucas, Joey Graham and JamesOn Curry each took a moment to thank the thousands of OSU fans who have followed the team to Kansas City this week.

"Our fans have been supporting us all year," Lucas said. "That just shows how much they love their sports and that goes for all sports at Oklahoma State University. Our fans stick through everything with us. For us to go out there and play our hearts out, it is almost like saying thank you to them."

"Ditto what John said," Joey Graham said. "The fans are great. I won't trade the fans for anything in the world. They support us everywhere we went, just like they did last year on our NCAA road. They were everywhere. I think we had the most fans pretty much everywhere we went in the tournament last year and they are diehard fans. I think they are going to stick with us ‘til the end."

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