Cowboys Face Road Test In UAB

Oklahoma State played its best game of the season in defeating 23rd-ranked Tennessee by the score of 89-73 last Thursday night in the All-College Classic. But the Cowboys, now 8-3 and ranked No. 25 in Scout.com's Top 25 poll, will face another test when they play Alabama-Birmingham, 6-3, in front of an expected sold-out crowd of more than 8,500 at Bartow Arena on Wednesday night.

"UAB will be our first (of) what I would call a road test," OSU head coach Eddie Sutton says. "We played Gonzaga (in Seattle), and they certainly had a big crowd up there, but it wasn't like playing on their home floor, and Boston College was in Las Vegas so there was no home court advantage for them there."

But the Blazers will definitely have the advantage for the nationally televised broadcast (ESPN2) which tips off at 6:30 p.m. (Central time) on Wednesday. You can bet that UAB head coach Mike Anderson will remind his team about the Blazers trip to Stillwater last December when the Cowboys won 86-73.

The Blazers are led by several players who saw action in Stillwater a year ago. Senior forward Demario Eddins (who had 9 points vs. OSU last season) is averaging 14 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Senior guard Marvett McDonald (shown in the photo on this page trailing JamesOn Curry) averages 13.8 points. Sophomore forward Frank Holmes (who played just three minutes vs. the Cowboys) leads the team in rebounding with six a game. Senior guard Carldell Johnson (who had 3 points in 30 minutes in last season's game) had a team-high 54 assists in nine games this season. Eight of the top 11 scorers for the Blazers are either juniors or seniors.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, only have one player who saw any significant playing time in last season's 13-point win over the Blazers. Curry, who leads the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game, scored 10 points in 21 minutes of action against UAB. David Monds, the 6-8 junior who is averaging 10.8 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds, played for just one minute. Marcus Dove also got on the floor for just one minute.

Sutton would like to see Dove get about 30-35 minutes against the Blazers on Wednesday night, but that's not going to happen since he will remain in Stillwater to nurse a fractured hip that he suffered in last week's win over Tennessee. The 6-9 Dove had become the Cowboys' defensive stopper, but the hip injury is expected to keep him out of action for about six weeks. Freshman Roderick Flemings, averaging 5.0 points per game, is expected to replace Dove in the starting lineup.

"This will be a tough game," Eddie Sutton says. "They've lost two or three really tough games."

UAB is on a two-game winning streak with wins over Centenary and Old Dominion at Bartow Arena. The Blazers only losses have been to Western Kentucky (92-76) at home, at DePaul (70-66) and at Minnesota (69-68). The Blazers defeated Nebraska 73-72 in Lincoln earlier this season.

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