Zags Topple Cowboys

Oklahoma State did almost everything to make sure that Gonzaga's Adam Morrison did not get the nation-leading 29 points he was averaging entering Saturday afternoon's Battle in Seattle. And it worked for 39 minutes, 57.5 seconds. But Morrison proved why he is one of the nation's best college basketball players when he banked an off-balance three-pointer off the glass for the game winner with just 2.5 seconds left on the clock to give the ninth-ranked Zags a 64-62 victory over the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State, now 6-3 after losing its last two games, had a chance to make sure Gonzaga would only be able to tie it up in the final seconds but Mario Boggan missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity – the Cowboys' only miss in seven attempts from the charity stripe – with 12.4 seconds remaining. The Zags, without any timeouts remaining, went to their go-to man in Morrison, who banked the game winner off the glass with David Monds and Marcus Dove in his face. JamesOn Curry's three-pointer from near midcourt was off target giving Gonzaga the win.

"It's tough, a tough loss," said Cowboy assistant coach Sean Sutton. "We competed hard but we made some mental mistakes late in the game that cost us. That's something our guys are going to have to learn from. Our guys are disappointed. We came here with one thing in mind, and that's to win. It's a loss and we're not very happy with that."

The Cowboys led throughout much of the game, including all of the second half until J.P. Batista's short jumper from the baseline with 1:21 left on the clock gave the Zags a 61-60. But Jamaal Brown made two free throws with 47 seconds remaining to put the Cowboys back up by one. Boggan blocked what appeared to be an easy layup by Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo in the final 20 seconds. Boggan grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by the Bulldogs' David Pendergraft. But Boggan missed the free throws to give Morrison the chance to hit the winner.

Gonzaga made 25 of 31 free throws while OSU was just 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. "It's hard to win in those circumstances," said Sean Sutton. "They're one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country. We were still pretty aggressive on the defensive end in the second half, after forcing 11 turnovers in the first half, and sometimes that can lead to free throws. I don't think we forced them into the turnovers like we did in the first half."

Boggan, the transfer from Chipola Junior College in Florida, scored a career-high 19 points on 9-of-15 field goal shooting. Brown finished with 12 points – 10 of those coming in the second half, including a pair of three-pointers. Curry again struggled with his shooting, making just 3 of 14 field goals to finish with six points. But the sophomore had a game-high 10 assists.

"Jamaal made some big-time plays, and he's played well in back-to-back games now," Sean Sutton said. "I thought Mario Boggan had an outstanding offensive game with 19 points and three offensive rebounds, but we need to get him rebounding better on the defensive end."

The Cowboys' 6-foot-9 Marcus Dove spent most of the day guarding the 6-foot-8 Morrison, and held the high-scoring Bulldog to just 6-of-14 shooting. He scored 11 of his points from the free throw line (on 15 attempts).

The Cowboys, off to their worst start in seven seasons, do not play again until next Sunday (Dec. 18) because of final exams this week for the players. OSU hosts Mercer in the 3 p.m. tip off.

"We competed hard. That's one of the things we stressed before the game – we wanted to play Oklahoma State basketball today ... That's playing hard, and playing hard-nosed. I think from that standpoint it was our best effort (of the season)," Sean Sutton said. "We had an opportunity to get one back after what happened Monday night in Stillwater (the loss to Northwestern State) but it didn't happen. It's a disappointing loss and we need to go back and correct the mistakes we made late in the game that cost us this basketball game."

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