Red-Hot Shooting Cowboys Roll Over Huskies

Oklahoma State played about as well as it could play Saturday in capturing an impressive 96-71 victory over Washington in the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series – just 11 days after suffering back-to-back losses in the Maui Invitational. The Cowboys that took the court in front of a nationally televised audience at Gallagher-Iba Arena looked nothing like the team that lost two games in Maui.

The Cowboys, now 3-3, were led by the play of their backcourt as freshman James Anderson (team-best 22 points), Terrel Harris (14), Byron Eaton (12) and Obi Muonelo (12) scored in double figures.

"It's a big win in a game that I felt like we really needed to win and play well," said Cowboy head coach Sean Sutton. "Coming off two tough defeats at Maui I think everybody was looking to see how this team would come back and respond, and they did a great job all week in practice of working. I told them that's what happens when you guys work on the practice floor."

Anderson, Harris, Muonelo and freshman guard Nick Sidorakis each hit key three-point shots during a stretch of the first half when the Cowboys pulled away from the Huskies. The teams were tied 21-21 when the Cowboys went on a 16-4 run during a four-minute stretch that turned the game around – with Anderson hitting a pair of treys, Harris sinking another and Sidorakis making one of his own.

That gave the Cowboys a 37-25 lead, one they stretched to 51-32 at halftime and they were never threatened in the second half.

Eaton and Muonelo combined to run the point for the Cowboys in the first five games, and really struggled against Marquette and Illinois in Maui. Thus, over the 11-day break between games, the OSU coaching staff moved Munoelo back to his natural position on the wing, and made true freshman Nick Sidorakis the backup point guard to Eaton.

Eaton and Sidorakis were outstanding running the point against the Huskies, who fell to 4-3 with the loss. The two combined for 19 points, six assists and just two turnovers. Sidorakis came off the bench to score seven points (on 3-of-5 shooting from the field) and had five assists while committing just one turnover in 16 minutes of play.

Muonelo had struggled while adjusting to his new role as a point guard in the first few games of the season. He was shooting just 25 percent from the field (6 of 24) and 16.7 from the three-point line (3 of 18), while committing 15 turnovers compared to just nine assists in the Cowboys' last four games (three of which were losses).

But the sophomore from Edmond, Okla., looked more comfortable not having to handle the ball against Washington, and was 4-of-6 from the field (including 3-of-5 from three-point range) to finish with 12 points, three rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes.

The Cowboys shot 58 percent from the field (the second best effort this season) and made a season-best 52 percent from beyond the three-point line (11 of 21). They also made 21 of 26 free throws (for 81 percent).

"At the offensive end we really played well," Sutton said. "We shared the ball on offense, we got really good shots, we took good shots, we shot a high percentage, and for the most part took care of the basketball. We had 14 turnovers. I'd still like to see that number down around 11 or 12, but overall it was a good performance.

"I was pleased and proud of our team."

Oklahoma State returns to action Wednesday night when the Cowboys host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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