Cowboys Whip Titans

STILLWATER – If there's anything that can cure Eddie Sutton's ailing back it would be the type of lock-down defensive performance he saw from the Oklahoma State Cowboys en route to their 31 wins and the Final Four just two years ago. Sutton and his staff were hoping to see that type of defense by this season's young, inexperienced squad by the middle of Big 12 play in February. But it came a little sooner than expected in OSU's 90-56 victory over Detroit on Tuesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Cowboys played a first half against the Titans that would have made the likes of former OSU defensive standouts like Tony Allen, Melvin Sanders and Cornell Hatcher proud. OSU, behind the 13 points from JamesOn Curry, raced out to a 21-6 lead in the first seven minutes and never looked back en route to the third win of the season. The Cowboys forced 12 first-half turnovers, and scored 23 of their 50 points off the Titan miscues.

"I thought the first half we played about as well as we are playing right now (on) both ends of the court. We had a few breakdowns but to hold them to 23 points and score 50 points, we were sharp, we pressured hard defensively, we made it difficult for them to get into their offense," OSU head coach designate Sean Sutton said. "We challenged our guys because we felt like this was going to be a tough match up. They are a very good defensive team. I thought our guys responded early. We wanted to jump on them. JamesOn, the way he hits those shots, got us going. We were pleased with the way we played."

Detroit did not get a single shot on its first four possessions of the game: 1) shot-clock violation, 2) traveling call, 3) offensive foul, and 4) Byron Eaton steal. After Curry buried the first of three three-pointers on the night and followed it up with a 15-foot jumper the Cowboys were up 8-0 three minutes into the game - before the Titans had even taken a shot - and on the way to the blowout.

Curry was the catalyst for the Cowboys. He finished with 16 points and 10 assists in 26 minutes of play. In the Cowboys' three victories to open the season he has 44 points but more importantly 23 asssists.

"I'm labeled by some people as a shooter but I'm not just a shooter – I'm a baller," Curry said. "I go out to win and play and be a team player to the end."

Sean Sutton echoed those thoughts by saying, "A lot of people view him as a shooter, but he's a guy that can make plays. He's always been an unselfish player. We saw that when he first got here. You'd think a guy who averaged 40 points in high school would have to be shooting it every time, but he plays within himself. He takes good shots. I think passing is something he enjoys doing, and I think he wants to get these other guys involved. One thing we admire about him is he is unselfish. When shots aren't there, he's not going to force it. Really he's not shot the ball great… but he was a lot more shot-ready tonight. In the first half he got on a roll, got in a rhythm, and he can shoot with anybody in the country when he's hot."

And when Curry leads the way the other Cowboys follow, at least the other guards did so Tuesday night. Curry, Byron Eaton and Jamaal Brown combined for 31 points and 20 assists while turning the ball over just three times (all by Curry). Eaton finished with 9 points, 6 assists and 4 steals, while Brown added 6 points, 4 assists and 2 steals.

"We were very unselfish. To have 26 assists on 32 baskets, and only turn it over eight times, is a very good performance, and we're happy with it," Sean Sutton said. "Overall, it was the best we've played. We executed our offense in the half court a lot better than we have been doing. One of the things that we've really tried to emphasize since the UTA game is we have got to have better ball protection, we've got to take care of the basketball."

Joining Curry in double figures for the Cowboys were Torre Johnson (15 points), Mario Boggan (14) and David Monds (13).

The Cowboys now go on the road for the first time this season by traveling to Las Vegas to face Texas Christian on Friday night in the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational at Valley High School. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Central time). The Cowboys will face either Boston College or Drake on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

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