Cowboys Give Sutton Win No. 786

STILLWATER – Eddie Sutton was in a really good mood following Oklahoma State's 80-62 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas on Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The longtime Cowboy coach had reason to be as the win was the 786th of his career, tying him with Lefty Driesell for fifth place on the all-time NCAA Division I career wins list.

"When they used to have the Olympic Festival ... they had it in Chapel Hill one year," said Sutton, now 786-300 in his 36th season as a major college coach. "One night, (Driesell) said,'let's go out shagging.' I said, 'what?' (He said,) 'You all don't shag out there in Oklahoma?', or I was in Arkansas at the time. I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' Well, shagging is a big dance in Carolina and that part of the country. (I should call him tonight and say) I just got home. I tied you and I'm so excited I went out shagging."

Sutton had another reason to be happy as he watched his Cowboys rebound from their first loss of the season – to eighth-ranked Boston College last Saturday night – to defeat a good UNLV squad. Torre Johnson led the Cowboys with a career-high 17 points while JamesOn Curry added 16 points, six assists and three steals, Byron Eaton contributed 13 points, four assists and three steals, Mario Boggan pitched in 11 points and David Monds added 11.

The Cowboys, now 5-1, took a 43-31 halftime lead before opening the second half with a 13-4 run to go up by 21 points. It appeared that Sutton's team was going to run the Runnin' Rebels right out of the gym but that didn't happen. UNLV big man Jason Petrimoulx (6-9, 225) took control, scoring eight points as the Rebels went on a 16-4 run to pull within 64-55. But the limited UNLV to just two field goals over the final eight minutes of play to pull away for the victory.

OSU's defense left Sutton bewildered. The Rebels shot 56.1 percent from the field (because they scored 30 of their 62 points from inside the paint), but the Cowboys also forced 27 turnovers and had 14 steals (four by Marcus Dove).

"I thought at time we played as well as we have played all season long," Sutton said. "We had that spell there in the second half (where UNLV came back), but you have to give credit to the other team for getting back into the game by getting it inside. I thought we recovered there for the last four or five minutes and actually looked like a basketball team.

"Defensively this is the weakest team I've coached since I've been here. They're terrible at containing dribblers on the perimeter. We can't cover anybody inside. We have to double up. When we do that sometimes they kick the ball out to an open shooter. Our defense has to get much better."

Sutton was pleased to see the Cowboys recover after UNLV had trimmed the lead to nine points with less than nine minutes to play. The Cowboys led Boston College by 13 points with 13 minutes to play on Saturday night and lost because they could not close out the Eagles.

"It was important to come back tonight and win, and try to win in a very classy manor and try to regain some confidence," Sutton said. "UNLV is a good team and will win a lot of ball games."

The Cowboys will try to get Sutton's 787th career win – and move him past Driesell – on Saturday night when they host Southern Methodist (SMU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sutton has a ways to go before tying former Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan (830 wins) for fourth place.

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