Sutton Gets Milestone Victory

STILLWATER – It wasn't a victory that Eddie Sutton will sit around and talk about much when his coaching days are finished because it wasn't the prettiest win of his career. But Oklahoma State's 64-54 victory over Southern Methodist on Saturday night was Sutton's 787th career win, moving him past Lefty Driesell into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time NCAA career win list.

The Cowboys improved to 6-1 behind a balanced scoring attack of JamesOn Curry (13 points), Mario Boggan (12), Torre Johnson (12) and David Monds (11). OSU shot just 42.6 from the field, made just one three-pointer and had more turnovers than assists (12 to 10) but still managed to win by double digits.

"If I had coached very many games like I did tonight in my earlier days, I would not be coaching today," Sutton said afterwards. "We did not play very well tonight. I am not taking anything away from SMU. They did what they had to do to win and that was to shorten the game and control their offense. They did a nice job of doing that."

The Cowboys and Mustangs were tied 16-16 midway through the first half before junior college transfer Torre Johnson took over for OSU. The 6-foot-6 junior scored six straight points (four free throws and one basket) to give the Cowboys a 22-16 lead. SMU only scored seven points in the final 11 minutes of the first half and the Cowboys limited the Mustangs to just two field goals over that stretch.

Sutton said this year's team was playing the worst defense of any of the Cowboy teams he'd coached in the past 16 years following Wednesday's night win over UNLV. But they held SMU to just 54 points and forced them into 19 turnovers.

"We did a good job on their two leading scorers, but we let Dez Washington go crazy (for a game-high 19 points) on us," Sutton said. "I thought at times we played well defensively. We allow the ball to go inside so easily. We are just not doing a good job of denying the basketball in the low post area.

"The guy that deserves the most credit is Marcus Dove. We have defined for him that he needs to be a stopper for us defensively," Sutton continued. "He has really taken on that role and is developing into a very good defensive player, which we desperately need because right now our team is not as good defensively as we need to be."

The Mustangs trimmed the Cowboys' 33-23 halftime lead to seven points midway through the second half. But a 9-0 run – Monds' conventional three-point play, Curry's basket, Johnson's 16-footer and Dove's fast break layup – stretched the lead to 56-40 and the Cowboys never looked back.

The 11,714 Cowboy fans inside Gallagher-Iba Arena began chanting "Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!" as the outcome became obvious in the final minutes. After the game Sutton was presented with a glass trophy commemorating the 787th win of his career.

"I started watching Coach Sutton teams back in the ‘70s," SMU head coach Jimmy Tubbs said. "He's one of the coaches I've always looked up to as being one of the best in the business. For him to get another milestone, I'm glad to be a part of it. Coach Sutton is a great basketball coach and just a good person. My hat's always off to a legend like that."

The Cowboys take Sunday off before returning to the court Monday night when they hope to get the 788th win of Sutton's career when they host Northwestern (La.) State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

"It is a great honor to be a part of a team that Coach Sutton is achieving these milestones with," said Monds. "We are looking forward to helping him get 800 wins."

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