Cowboys Win Big 12 Opener

The 12th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys appeared to be ready to roll to an easy Big 12 Conference opening victory midway through the second half of Saturday's game against Baylor. But the Cowboys let a 16-point lead slip away before escaping with an 81-77 victory over the Bears behind the 26-point, 13-rebound performance of senior Mario Boggan.

OSU stat lines of the game: Mario Boggan: 11-18 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 4-5 FTs, 26 points, 13 rebounds (six offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 28 minutes
Kenny Cooper: 4-8 FGs, 8 points, 11 rebounds (10 offensive), 22 minutes

Players of the game: Mario Boggan played just 28 minutes - and missed six minutes of the second half after picking up his fourth foul with more than 13 minutes left in the game - but still scored 26 points and tied a career-high with 13 rebounds. He had what may have been the biggest play of the game when he slithered inside to grab an offensive rebound on a Terrel Harris missed free throw and put it back in to give the Cowboys a 76-69 lead with just 32 seconds remaining.

The game was over when …: JamesOn Curry made five of six free throws in the final 22 seconds of the game to allow the 10th-ranked Cowboys to win for the 15th time in 16 games this season. Terrel Harris, playing with a mask to cover a broken orbital bone, hit a three-pointer with 13:56 left in the second half to give the Cowboys a 50-34 lead – their largest of the game – and it appeared it was all over but the shouting. Baylor, however, would not go away, and kept chipping away at the OSU lead until the Bears had trimmed it to three on Curtis Jerrells two free throws with 17.6 seconds remaining. But Curry hit four free throws to wrap it up in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.

Quotes of the game: "That was a good win for us. It was really important that we get off to a good start in the Big 12. Obviously you have to win at home if you've got any chance to win the Big 12 championship, and Baylor's a good team." Sean Sutton on the victory
" He's such a hard match up for opposing teams because he's just an unbelievable scorer. He's got great hands and he's strong. He's got tremendous footwork in the low post, and when he catches the ball around the basket you can almost count it because he's so crafty inside. He's got great shooting touch, and he's starting to rebound. That's one thing we've tried to challenge him to play better defense and start rebounding, and he came up with 13 rebounds. The one he got late was a tremendous play. It was a great game for him, and he continues to play at a really high level. If he keeps playing like this you can make the argument that he ought to be the Big 12 Player of the Year. I understand there are a lot of great players in this conference but I'm not sure anybody is playing better than him right now." Sean Sutton on Mario Boggan "We tried to guard (Boggan) like everybody in the league tries to guard him. You do not do a good job. He is a very experienced player. He can score in different ways. Not many people have answers for him. We just wish JamesOn (Curry) was a senior with him." Baylor head coach Scott Drew talking about Boggan and Curry

Next: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Kansas, Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kans.

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