Cowboys Win In Double Overtime

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sean Sutton has seen his share of great performances in his 16 years as a player and coach at Oklahoma State. Sutton and a Ford Center crowd of 15,229 – most all Cowboy fans – witnessed another Thursday night by OSU senior Mario Boggan who scored a career-high 30 points to lead the 15th-ranked Cowboys to a 95-89 double overtime victory over seventh-ranked Pittsburgh.

The 6-7 Boggan finished with 30 points and nine rebounds while playing all but seven minutes of the 50-minute game to leave both Sutton and Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon talking about him after the final buzzer sounded. Boggan was named Most Valuable Player of the All-College Classic for his effort Thursday night on national television (ESPN2).

"I was thinking about some of the great performances we've had since we've been at Oklahoma State – Bryant Reeves 33 points and 20 rebounds against Kansas, Joey Graham scoring 36 against Nebraska a couple years ago, Randy Rutherford's 45 at Kansas. But I'd put this in the top five probably in terms of individual effort because he played 43 minutes, and made some big-time plays. It was a heck of a performance," said Sean Sutton, who has been battling flu-like symptoms the last couple days and missed Wednesday's practice and Thursday morning's shoot-around.

Boggan's two free throws with 1:42 remaining in the second overtime put the Cowboys ahead for good 88-87. His offensive rebound and put back of a Byron Eaton miss with 40.3 seconds on the clock made it a three-point Cowboy lead.

He suffered a sprained wrist when he fouled Pitt's Mike Cook on the Panthers next possession, and spent the remaining 25 seconds on the bench. But Eaton and JamesOn Curry sewed up with the victory by making five of six free throws in the final 21.6 seconds for what Sutton called one of the biggest non-conference wins for OSU in a long time.

"We knew he was good but he's improved in two years," said Pitt's Dixon. "I saw him play in junior college and he's a much better player since then. It's always good to see a kid improve as much as he has. He got to the line 14 times and to his credit knocked down the free throws."

Since 1990, OSU has only played two non-conference games against higher-ranked teams in the polls. The Cowboys lost to No. 5 Arizona in 1994-95 and beat fourth-ranked Syracuse during the 2004-05 season.

"This was one of the best games that I've ever been a part of, and one of the best non-conference wins that we've had in a long time. It felt like a tournament-type atmosphere. I thought both teams played at a high level. It was a tough, hard-fought, extremely competitive game and well played. We played 50 minutes and there were only 23 turnovers (combined) in the game, and there were a lot of great plays on both ends," Sutton said. "I'm certainly very proud of our guys and the courage they showed, and how hard they played throughout the game, and the way they kept fighting to find a way to win this game."

Boggan certainly wasn't the only player to step up big for the Cowboys, who improved to 12-1 on the season. Curry played a game-high 47 minutes and finished with 20 points – including three consecutive three-pointers during three straight possessions midway through the first half to rally the Cowboys from a 24-16 deficit to a 25-24 lead. Marcus Dove may have scored only seven points but he had 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Terrel Harris contributed 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists before fouling out in the first overtime. Kenny Cooper turned in his second outstanding effort as the 6-9 sophomore tied a career high with 12 points in 31 minutes of play.

"We kept talking during timeouts about how big a game this was," said Sean Sutton. "I said at one point that this is going to be a defining moment in our season. Somehow we are going to have to find a way to win this game. They kept battling and came up with the plays to win."

The Cowboys now have off until they play Texas-San Antonio on Dec. 30 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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