Torre Johnson Comes Up Big For Cowboys

STILLWATER – Torre Johnson played Friday night like the first-team junior college All-American that the Oklahoma State coaching staff saw when recruiting him a year ago. The 6-foot-6 provided the spark the Cowboys needed with 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Oklahoma State to an 84-62 victory over Oklahoma Christian University in the final exhibition game before next Friday's season opener.

"I thought that Torre Johnson just played an outstanding ball game," Cowboy head coach Eddie Sutton said, "and I thought the other guy that played well was (Aaron) Pettway. I thought Aaron did a nice job."

Johnson, Pettway and the Cowboys outscored the smaller Eagles 52-20 in the paint. Pettway, who had 11 points and nine rebounds with one blocked shot, played well for the second game in a row. Johnson, the junior college transfer from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, did his damage in just 22 minutes of action.

""I thought Torre was just terrific. He hit 10 out of 13 field goals and 5 out of 6 from the line, had 11 rebounds and scored 25 points in 22 minutes and only had one turnover. That's a pretty good effort," Sutton reiterated.

But it wasn't easy for the Cowboys. Oklahoma Christian, ranked third in the NAIA national poll, was tied 33-33 with the Cowboys at halftime and actually led 40-39 early in the second half. Johnson and the Cowboys took control over the next five minutes by going on a 14-4 run. Johnson scored eight points during that stretch.

""I think Torre just likes to play," Sutton said. "That's the thing I told our team at halftime. How in the world you can you just not be so fired up because none of these guys have played in front of a crowd like that before. How can they not be just so excited to get out there and play?"

The Cowboys, with Johnson leading the way with 14 points in the second half, outscored the Eagles in the second half 51-29. But they struggled shooting the ball – making just 1 of 8 three-pointers and missing 13 free throws on the night.

"The second half I think we wore them down, and we were able to maybe get our defense playing a little bit better and rebound a little bit better. When we did get the ball off the defensive board I thought our transition was good," Sutton said.

Johnson said he enjoyed playing in front of the crowd of 12,765 Cowboy fans. And the Cowboy fans enjoyed watching him play, giving him a standing ovation was he was pulled from the game with 4:26 remaining and the Cowboys up 75-57.

"I just like to play. The fans give me energy. I love the fans," said Johnson. "It's fun to come out and see the fans and hear the music. It gets my blood rushing. I like to participate in things they're doing to like clapping. It gives my energy."

The Cowboys, who have now won 29 of 30 exhibition games during Sutton's 16 years as head coach, now begin preparing for the regular season opener next Friday against Texas-Arlington. Tip-off at Gallagher-Iba Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Note: Brumbaugh Sits Out Again
OSU freshman Keith Brumbaugh did not suit up for the second game in a row because of a shoulder injury. Brumbaugh, however, was not on the Cowboy bench as he was Tuesday night for OSU's win over Oklahoma City University.

"He's got that horrible shoulder and we don't know for sure yet whether he's going to be able to play," Sutton said. "We've got one physician who says he ought to have surgery and we've got a couple who say no. If it were my child, and it were me, I would not have surgery until it was necessary. It may be that he has to have surgery. I don't know."

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