Eaton Is One Tough Cowboy

STILLWATER – Cowboy freshman point guard Byron Eaton came out of the locker room after his team's 90-56 win over Detroit University in the second round of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic wearing a badge of courage. The Dallas (Texas) Lincoln High School product had a fat lower lip with a big shiny red cut sticking up in the middle. Eaton laughed about the cut and said it wasn't as bad as it looked.

The fat lower lip is a good example of his physical style of play on the perimeter that led to the cut. Eaton got the cut as he drove to the basket and wound up dishing off to a teammate on one of his six assists with no turnovers.

"Either they are going to move and I am going to score, or if they come I'm going to touch them and then my man (teammate) is going to score," said Eaton. "This game is a physical game, and I'm used to contact (he was an all-state Texas quarterback and safety in high school). I'm not trying to hurt anybody, but if you are in my way you are going to feel me."

"That's what we like about Byron. That he can still penetrate and score on bigger guys," said teammate Torre Johnson, who had 15 points in the win. "He keeps going to the hole and when he gets bumped he actually initiates the contact. He just loves to penetrate which opens it up for me, Dave (Monds), and AP (Aaron Pettway) when our man goes over to help. His game is not like Jamaal's (Brown) game because he is a shooter, so we have two different type point guards to help us out."

He was a football player all right, one of the best in the nation, but Eaton, rightfully so, spurned all the football offers to go with his best game, basketball. The head knocking from the safety that helped his team to the Texas Class 4A state championship game translates to the rugged Big 12. It is the football background that has helped him develop his physical style.

"My older cousin used to bump me around and that is another reason why," Eaton replied.

The style works well on both ends of the floor as at one point in the game Eaton gained one of his four steals by just reaching out and taking the ball away from Detroit's standout guard Brandon Cotton. His cousin and his cousin's older friends come up again.

"That's how my cousin and the older guys used to do me. So if I see an opportunity then I'm going to risk a foul or I'm going to get a steal," explained the 5-11 powerhouse. "Coach is either going to say good job getting that steal or bad job and don't get that foul. Coach and them say defense is the main thing we do here."

Besides the assists and steals, Eaton's near perfect line also included a perfect night shooting and best of all no turnovers.

"I talk to the coaches all the time and they've been telling me I've had too many turnovers. So my goal was to come out here tonight and not make any turnovers, play more, and have more assists," said Eaton.

"That's point guard numbers, that's how you play the game, four for four, six assists, and no turnovers," Eaton said looking at a box score.

Eaton has improved by leaps and bounds - or should we say bruises and cut lips - in the first three games. But the home opening portion of the schedule is now over and the Cowboys continue Friday in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic by actually going to Las Vegas to play TCU and possibly ranked Boston College on Saturday. Eaton is ready for the challenge.

"It will be kind of hard for us because we haven't done that yet," said Eaton. "We are going to have to get used to playing on the road because we have a lot of road games coming up, and we just have to play like we have our fans here. I'm sure we'll have some fans with us, and when I hear them I'm going to push my teammates to play just like we do when we are here at Gallagher."

Or he'll push the other guys. For Eaton either one works.

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