Cowboy Freshmen Make The Plays

Martavius Adams, James Anderson, Nick Sidorakis and Ibrahima Thomas played anything upperclassmen Thursday in their first ever appearances in the Big 12 Championship Tournament. The four freshmen combined for 37 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots as Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech, 76-72, in a first-round game of the Big 12 postseason tourney at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Anderson, the 6-foot-6 freshman who leads the Cowboys in scoring (13.4 points per game) but had not scored in double figures in OSU's final three games of the regular season, was outstanding with a team-high 18 points and a career-best eight reobunds. He also contributed two assists, two blocked shots (one that was huge in the final minute of play with the Cowboys holding a three-point lead) and one steal.

"(The block of Tech's Charlie Burgess by James Anderson) was a huge play but James still needs to work on his defense," OSU head coach Sean Sutton said. "Hopefully that will give him some confidence. He made the great defensive play and then he comes back and hits the two big free throws (with 4.8 seconds left) to sew up the win. I thought it was his most complete game that he's played in the Big 12. Hopefully he'll play as well tomorrow."

The other freshman also played well. Adams finished with 10 points and two rebounds, Thomas contributed six points and five rebounds, and Sidorakis hit a big three-point shot in his limited playing time.

But it was again the play of Cowboy point guard Byron Eaton, who led the Cowboys back from a 61-56 deficit midway through the second half, that proved to be the difference. The 5-10 junior was held scoreless in the first half but came on to score all 12 of his points in the final half of play.

"Byron took the game over late, and of course Obi (Muonelo) made some big baskets during that stretch but Byron took it over," Sutton said.

The ninth-seeded Cowboys, now 17-14, advance into Friday's quarterfinal round where they will face No. 1-seeded Texas (26-5) in an 11:30 a.m. (Central Daylight Time) contest.

OSU has played the sixth-ranked Longhorns twice already this season. The Cowboys lost 63-61 on Jan. 21 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, and closed out the regular season with a 62-57 loss to the Longhorns four days ago in Austin.

Sutton had praise for the four freshmen.

"I thought they played with a lot of poise and a lot of confidence," Sutton said. "Martavius Adams had his best low-post game by far this season. I thought Nick Sidorakis came in and gave us valuable minutes in the second half, and hit a big three-point shot. Thomas had a good stat line, and James Anderson probably played his best game in the Big 12.

"It should help them with their confidence tomorrow when we go up against Texas, because for us to beat them we're going to need everybody and need a lot of bodies."

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