'Mr. Overtime' Does It Again

STILLWATER – Let's just go ahead and give Mario Boggan the nickname "Mr. Overtime," because if anyone in college basketball deserves it he does. The Oklahoma State senior scored 12 of his game-high 35 points in two extra periods Saturday to lead the 17th-ranked Cowboys to a 93-91 double overtime victory over Texas Tech. It was OSU's fourth victory in games that have gone overtime this season.

The 6-7 Boggan put the Cowboys on his back and almost single-handedly willed them to a much-needed victory over the Red Raiders after back-to-back losses to Colorado and Oklahoma in the past week. Boggan scored seven of OSU's 10 points in the second overtime – including a conventional three-point play with 4.1 seconds left on the clock after rebounding a miss by David Monds – as the Cowboys broke the two-game losing skid.

"I thought today he was as fresh as he's looked since the Texas game (on Jan. 16)," Cowboy head coach Sean Sutton said. "The last two days in practice he seemed to move better. I don't know if the Texas game took that much out of him, (but) he's looked sluggish since that game.

"He's played great in close games this year, and he willed us to win that game today. It was a big-time performance on his part. He made the plays to win the game."

Boggan's numbers in the Cowboys' four overtime victories – against no losses – speak for themselves. He had career highs of 37 points and 20 rebounds in the three-overtime win over Texas, finished with 30 points and nine rebounds in the Cowboys' double overtime win over Pittsburgh, and was named the Most Valuable Player after leading OSU to the South Padre Invitational title with a 73-70 overtime victory over Missouri State.

"I had fun out there. I was enjoying myself and played hard. That's all you can do," said Boggan.

The Cowboys began pounding the ball inside to Boggan after the Red Raiders two biggest players – 6-8 Jon Plefka and 6-9 Darryl Dora – fouled out of the game. Plefka got his fifth foul with 2:48 remaining in regulation, and Dora followed him to the bench when he picked up his fifth just 1:33 into the first overtime.

"My eyes got real big (after those guys fouled out)," Boggan said. "I was like give me the ball inside and let me go to work."

But Boggan almost didn't get that chance. The Cowboys had to rally from an 11-point second half deficit, and then trailed 83-77 with just 50 seconds remaining in the first overtime. Boggan's rebound and put back of a missed free throw by Monds led to a three-point play, and then JamesOn Curry's steal and layup tied it up.

The senior from Durham, N.C. – he shaved the Durham area code into the side of his hair Saturday morning – put the Cowboys on top early in the second overtime with an 8-foot jumper. He followed that by finding Terrel Harris for an open jumper and then Boggan added two free throws of his own to give the Cowboys an 89-83 lead. But the Red Raiders came back to tie it up with 33 seconds on the clock.

Monds had a wide open baseline jumper bounce away but Boggan was fighting for the rebound underneath the basket. He grabbed the rebound – his seventh offensive and 14th overall of the game – and put it back in while getting fouled with 4.1 seconds left. It was the fifth foul on Tech's Michael Prince. He sank the free throw for his 35th point of the night, and the Cowboys' 19th victory of the season.

"He only had six shots in first half," Sutton said of the Cowboy post player. "You'd think at one point (our players) would understand that good things happen when he gets the ball. We try to run our offense through him whenever possible because he commands so much attention. When he gets it, he puts the defense in a help situation where they've got to help somewhere.

"When we got into double overtime with their fouls, and their big guys out, we went to him three straight times. I just kept telling our guys we've got to pound the ball in there and get the ball into him. (I said) they don't have anybody on the court right now that can stop him, and it got us a six-point lead to stat the second overtime," continued Sutton, whose Cowboys are now 9-1 in games decided by five points or less.

The Cowboys, now 19-5 overall and 5-4 in Big 12 play, don't get much time to celebrate the victory. They leave Sunday for Austin, Texas, where they will face the Longhorns Monday night in a nationally televised game (ESPN) in a rematch of the thrilling triple overtime game played just three weeks ago.

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