Cowboys Play 'Big' In Beating Red Raiders

STILLWATER – You don't have to be a graduate of "Knight School" to know that the Oklahoma State big men accomplished Saturday against Texas Tech what they had hoped to accomplish last Wednesday in Ames, Iowa. The combination of starters Mario Boggan and Kenny Cooper, along with David Monds and Torre Johnson off the bench, dominated a below average Texas Tech front line in helping the Cowboys to a 74-63 win over the Red Raiders.

The same four players were part of a 68-52 loss at Iowa State in which the Cyclones out-rebounded Oklahoma State 41-32 and had a game-clinching 19-to-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Against the likes of Jon Plefka, Dior Lowhorn, Michael Prince and foul-plagued Darryl Dora the Cowboys out-rebounded the Raiders 37-to-26. They owned a 10-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Cooper and Monds, with a pair each, helped the Cowboys to tying a season high with seven blocked shots. They also outscored Texas Tech in the paint 38-20. It was a big afternoon for the big men in front of 11,254 of Cowboy fans inside Gallagher-Iba Arena and an ABC Television regional audience.

"I felt I let my team down against Iowa State in that I didn't ready to play mentally and physically," said Monds. "I told myself I was going to come out today and give it all I got. I was going to play defense, rebound, and play defense some more. Torre did a great job of energy, Cooper established the game with his heart and hard play, and Mario just dominated them inside.

"I feel if we take that down to OU then we'll be okay," added Monds, referring to Monday night's game against the Sooners.

The inside players may have had their best game, but they didn't do it alone as JamesOn Curry started the Cowboys on a path that would see them lead every step of the way. Curry's first two treys gave OSU an 11-2 lead and after a brief Tech surge, Curry took a drive through the paint for a 15-7 advantage. The Cowboy sophomore finished with 18 points to lead the team in scoring. He also had four assists and only two turnovers after a poor night protecting the ball against Iowa State.

Boggan also hit two treys as Oklahoma State shot 32 percent from beyond the arch and a 49 percent overall. Boggan's first three-pointer from the right wing combined with a David Monds slam dunk on the next trip put OSU up by 11 points just before the end of the first half. Boggan, who finished with 17 points to go with his seven rebounds and two steals, hit his second three-pointer a few minutes later and the Cowboys led 44-30 at intermission.

As Texas Tech head coach Bob Knight expressed after the game there wasn't a lot of suspense to the game. The Cowboys had the right answers to Texas Tech every time the Raiders tried to make a move. Cooper, who originally committed to Knight and the Raiders before settling on the Cowboys, had two momentum plays. A Cooper block quickly led to a Byron Eaton lay in for a 15-point second half lead. Moments later Cooper had the steal and the big guy gathered in the loose ball and then passed it to Jamaal Brown for a lay in to secure a 54-41 OSU advantage.

"We had some spurts in the game where we played fairly well, but I think Oklahoma State sustained good play a lot longer than we did," said the Texas tech head coach following his first coaching experience against Sean Sutton, the son of one of his longtime rivals Eddie Sutton. "We would spurt and cut the lead down two or three points and they would have an answer for it. Their play was just better over the length of the ballgame than ours was, and that is always going to make a difference."

Knight added that he didn't see much difference in a Sean Sutton-coached team as compared to an Eddie Sutton-coached OSU squad.

It simply wasn't that exciting because the Cowboys did their jobs and did the right to improve their season record to 15-13 overall and 5-9 in the Big 12. Texas Tech fell to 14-14 and 6-8 in the Big 12.

The Cowboys had 16 turnovers, not great, but because of the constant lead on the scoreboard they weren't really a factor. The hope is Oklahoma State can play as well or better on the road on "Big Monday" when they travel to Norman for a second crack at Bedlam rival Oklahoma. OU won earlier in Stillwater 73-65. It is a sore spot for the young Cowboys.

"We just need to relax, play defense, and do what we've been doing," said guard Byron Eaton, certainly thinking of the recent wins over Texas and Texas Tech and not the road game midweek at Iowa State. "It's not really an away game. It's just 45 minutes away and we need to go have fun and get that win."

Excuse Eaton but rest assured he will discover before tip off on Monday night that a trip to the Lloyd Noble is an away game.

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