The Cowboy Trifecta

STILLWATER – James Anderson, Terrel Harris and Keiton Page teamed up Monday night for an accomplishment that hasn't occurred in Oklahoma State basketball in more than seven years. The trio of Cowboy guards each scored 20 or more points in leading Oklahoma State to a 100-88 victory over North Texas at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Anderson led the Cowboys with 28 points, Harris contributed 21 and the freshman Page added 20 in just his second college game to become the first threesome to score 20 or more points since Jan. 8, 2001, when Maurice Baker (26), Fredrik Jonzen (26) and Victor Williams (20) each scored more than 20 against Iowa State.

The Cowboys improved to 2-0 on the young season despite allowing North Texas to shoot 50 free throws (committing 34 fouls) and were outrebounded by the Mean Green 57-43.

"We'll take this win but I'll tell you it was very contrasting from the first game where we won because of a great work ethic, great attitude but didn't shoot the ball particularly well. Where tonight I thought the ball well but didn't particularly have the execution in a lot of different areas that we wanted," Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said.

"It was a strange game. I'm glad we won but it was very sloppy. We didn't finish the game very well and that's probably the thing I'm the most upset about. We're going to have to be a whole lot better come Thursday night (against Tulsa) that's for sure, or it won't be close."

Anderson impressed the first-year Cowboy head coach with his performance. He finished with 28 points (just one shy of his career best), 8 rebounds and 2 assists while playing 34 minutes.

"We call him Big Game James (after former NBA standout James Worthy)," Ford said of the sophomore guard, who was 3-of-7 from three-point range and made all nine of his free throws. "I told him before the game, ‘I've heard all these things about you James. It's about time for you to show me what you're made of. It's time for you to be Big Game James.'

"I thought he played hard. I thought he finished around the basket which he hadn't been doing. He made his threes, which we all know he can do. But I liked his performance around the rim, finishing, being strong with the basketball. I thought he was stronger with the ball, the most I've seen him even in practice… the best I've ever seen him with the basketball in his hand," Ford continued.

But it was the 5-foot-10 freshman Page who kept the Cowboys in the game in the first half when starting point guard Byron Eaton and post Ibrahima Thomas both went to the bench with two fouls. The former Pawnee High School All-Stater was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range as he scored 15 points in 15 minutes to lead the Cowboys to a 51-44 halftime lead.

"We weren't surprised at all. Our coach told us, ‘When he comes in, he can shoot,' and that's exactly what he did tonight," said North Texas guard Josh White of Page. "He's a great shooter. You can't give him any room. We heard about him and how many (points) he averaged in high school. We knew it coming into the game, we just didn't stop it."

Page would finish 6-of-10 from the field (5-of-8 from behind the arc) and 3-of-4 from the foul line for 20 points in 31 minutes of action.

"When you shoot the ball it makes you look really good and he did. We were struggling to make shots early. We started the game 1 of 10 or something like that, and his threes made a big difference," Ford said of Page.

"They gave us confidence; it brought some life into us. It was a pretty good game for the second game of your college career. Not bad. He was impressive tonight. I've got to give him a little bit of credit. I don't give him a lot, I don't want to give a freshman too much, but all of his threes were definitely needed."

Despite being outrebounded by 14 (57-43) and allowing the Mean Green 24 offensive boards, three OSU players matched career highs in rebounds – Harris with nine, Obi Muonelo with nine and Anderson with eight.

"We just didn't rebound the basketball or grab loose balls," Ford said. "We weren't rewarding ourselves and that can become very frustrating as a coach and as a player. They have to learn to come up with some rebounds."

The Cowboys return to action Thursday night when they host Tulsa at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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