Demons Stun Cowboys

STILLWATER – The Oklahoma State Cowboys had an amazing 105-1 record against nonconference opponents inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in Eddie Sutton's 16 years as head coach entering Monday night's game against Northwestern (La.) State. Sutton-coached Cowboy teams hadn't lost a nonconference game since Dec. 1, 1998, but the seven-year streak came to an end as Northwestern State upset the favored Cowboys 68-64 in front of a stunned Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd of 10,448.

The Cowboys, now 6-2, had won 44 nonconference games in a row dating back to 1998. But they struggled against almost the same identical Northwestern State team that Oklahoma State defeated 91-53 a year ago. But the Cowboys were playing with only one player who saw extensive action last season (JamesOn Curry, who was held scoreless Monday night), while the Demons returned their six leading scorers from a team which won 21 games and the Southland Conference regular season title.

"That is the difference between a veteran team and a young team," Eddie Sutton said. "Sometimes they do not fully understand how hard it is to play from behind. They are a good basketball team. I am not embarrassed to get beat by them. They beat Mississippi State (76-75 in overtime) on the road and that is not an easy task. They should have beat Missouri. They are a good example of an experienced ball club. They have so many seniors and they came in here with the idea that this is the year they could beat Oklahoma State."

Sutton warned his players not to look ahead to Saturday night's showdown with ninth-ranked Gonzaga on national television in Seattle. But that may have been what the Cowboys did, especially after jumping out to a 19-11 lead midway through the first half. But the Demons went on a 12-2 run to take the lead 23-21.

Northwestern State took a 32-29 halftime lead and used a 13-3 run in the first 4:13 of the second half to go up by 13 points. The Cowboys battled their way back into the game over the next six minutes, and pulled within 49-45 on Roderick Flemings' 5-foot jumper from the baseline.

But the Demons would not allow the Cowboys to catch up. Clifton Lee scored five of his game-high 24 points in the next few possessions as Northwestern State got up 56-49. The Demons still led 63-54 with 2:31 remaining when Lee made one of two free throws. But the Cowboys rallied behind the three-point shooting of Jamaal Brown, who made five treys on the night and led the team with 18 points.

Brown's three-pointer with 54 seconds left pulled the Cowboys within 63-61, but Alfonse Dyer's tip-in on a miss put the Demons back up 65-61. Brown hit another trey with 10.9 seconds left to pull the Cowboys within 65-64, but Tyronn Mitchell hit two free throws with 9.4 seconds on the clock and Lee added another one with 0.3 seconds to clinch the win.

"We just played with no energy at all," said Cowboy forward Torre Johnson. "They played with a whole lot more energy than us. They also played a lot tougher than us. We did not rebound. We did not box out. We did not take pride in our defense. A lot of things killed us tonight. Now we just have to get to the practice court and practice hard. We just need to get better."

Curry, who has struggled with his shooting touch in the first eight games of the season, was held scoreless after missing all five of his shots, and fouling out with 1:10 left in the game. It was the first time the Cowboy guard had been held scoreless since the fourth game of the 2004 season against SMU. Curry's final stat line read: 0-5 FGs, 2 rebounds, 0 points, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 21 minutes. "He's just not playing well and it's affecting his whole game," Eddie Sutton said.

Brown led the Cowboys with 18 points, while David Monds added 12 points and eight rebounds.

OSU had won all six of its previous meetings with Northwestern State, winning those six games by an average margin of 27.7 points. But it was Eddie Sutton's second loss to the Demons. Northwestern State upset Kentucky on Dec. 7, 1988 in Sutton's last year as head coach of the Wildcats.

OSU, which was playing its third game in five nights, is now off until traveling later this week to play Gonzaga in the "Battle In Seattle" on Saturday.

GoPokes Top Stories