He's Not Your Ordinary Freshman

STILLWATER – Maybe, just maybe, Barry Gebhart knows what he's talking about. The head basketball coach at Fayetteville (Ark.) High School told Oklahoma State's Sean Sutton a year ago that when James Anderson arrived on campus he was getting one special player. And, even though the freshman has yet to play a real game, he's already shown that Gebhart knew of which he was speaking.

The 18-year-old from Junction City, Ark., scored a game-high 28 points as Oklahoma State defeated East Central University 98-48 on Tuesday night in the Cowboys' final exhibition game. The Cowboys open the regular season Friday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena against Prairie View A&M.

Anderson, the McDonald's All-American who signed with OSU after considering Kansas, Arkansas and Florida, scored 15 points and pulled down four rebounds in 31 minutes of play in the Cowboys' exhibition opener last week.

But he was even better Tuesday night when he finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists in 33 minutes of play. He was 11-of-17 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 on three-pointers.

"It was one of the most impressive games for a young player that we've had here in a while," Sean Sutton said. "Adrian Peterson, in my opinion, had the best freshman year of any player we've had since we've been at Oklahoma State. He had some monster games as a freshman. I think he went for 28 (against Kansas) in Allen Fieldhouse, and maybe 25 (against Oklahoma) in Norman.

"I said the other night in here that he played OK (in the first exhibition game). I think tonight you saw what I was talking about. He just makes it look so easy, and every time he shoots it – the way he's shot in practice – you just think it's going to go in. Tonight on at least one of them I was really surprised it didn't. He's a great shooter.

"He's got an unbelievable feel for how to play. He impacts the game in a lot of ways, not only with his scoring but he's such a great passer and he gets guys easy shots. He's really good."

The soft-spoken Anderson said, "It felt good. I'm just trying to play hard and help my team win."

The Cowboys put the game out of reach early. In the first half they went on three runs, and Anderson had a hand in two of the three. An 11-0 run early in the first half gave the Cowboys a 21-5 lead, and Anderson scored five of those 11 points. He had a free throw, a fast break layup and a slam dunk off an alley-oop pass from Byron Eaton.

The Cowboys also had a 15-0 run which stretched their lead to 38-10, and then followed that up with a 13-0 run late in the first half. Anderson nailed back-to-back three-pointers during that run as the Pokes stretched their lead to 51-12.

Other Cowboys who played well against East Central University, an NCAA Division II school from Ada, Okla., were Marcus Dove (17 points & 1o rebounds), Obi Muonelo (17 points, 5 steals & 5 assists), Terrel Harris (12 points, 5 steals) and Byron Eaton (9 assists, 3 points, 2 steals in just 16 minutes of play).

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