It's Rowdy Again!

STILLWATER – Just 18 days ago, after an embarrassing 25-point loss to the Texas Longhorns in Austin, most Oklahoma State fans had written off the 2008-09 basketball season. But since that loss there has been a change in the Cowboys, and it was never more evident than in Saturday afternoon's 68-59 victory over 25th-ranked Texas in front of 11,555 rowdy fans inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The victory (OSU's fifth in a row since the loss at Texas) was the Cowboys' first of the season over a team ranked in the top-25 poll, and improves their record to 19-9 overall and 8-6 in Big 12 Conference play.

But more importantly it sends a message to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee that the Cowboys are on the verge of becoming a team that has earned an invitation to the Big Dance.

The magnitude of the victory – OSU's first over a ranked opponent since a 61-60 win over eventual national champion Kansas on Feb. 23, 2008 – was not lost on OSU sophomore Marshall Moses.

"The same thing was going through my mind (when the buzzer sounded) as what was going through my mind with 30 seconds left. We're about to beat a top 25 team. We're about to win. We've beat Texas. We've beat a great team," said Moses, who was outstanding against the Longhorns with 15 points and 16 rebounds to record the fourth double-double of his career.

"Coach (Travis) Ford wouldn't let us forget any way but he stressed (how important this game) was to us. But Byron (Eaton), Terrel (Harris), Anthony (Brown) and those guys … It's there last go-around and they stress it more. Knowing that it would help those guys get to the tournament for the first time in their career, that helped all the younger guys want to play even harder," Moses added.

In the 25-point loss to the Longhorns on Feb. 10, OSU's post players (Moses, Brown and Malcoln Kirkland) combined for zero points, 1 rebound and 11 fouls. Those three combined for 20 points, 19 rebounds and 5 fouls on Saturday in front of the largest Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd of the season.

"When Marshall is playing with high energy and is focused, with his mind in it and is really concentrating, he brings a great strength to our team as far as a guy down low who we can throw it to," Ford said. "He may not be the most athletic or the tallest but he's so strong he can create space.

"When Marshall is really focusing he is a very smart player and has a great understanding of the game," Ford added.

Moses scored the Cowboys' first three baskets of the game, and Oklahoma State raced to a 30-18 halftime lead (the lowest halftime point total by the Longhorns this season), and increased their lead to 38-21 when Harris made two free throws with 17:08 left in the second half.

But the Longhorns weren't about to go away without making a run. They pulled within 56-55 with 4:35 remaining before Moses and freshman Keiton Page closed it out for the Cowboys. It was a three-point game with less than two minutes to play when Moses scored from in the paint to put the Cowboys up 62-57, and then the 5-foot-10 Page made six free throws in a row over the final 56 seconds to clinch the victory.

Anderson led the Cowboys with 16 points, while Harris contributed 13 and 8 rebounds, and Page finished with 10.

Harris said the 99-74 loss to the Longhorns on Feb. 10 gave the Cowboys extra motivation. "That's something you don't forget, especially when it's this quick of a turnaround. It's something you just don't forget. I think that had a little bit to do with our aggression and our focus. Marshall really stressed that before the game. (He said,) ‘Remember, these dudes beat us by 30 and we can't forget that.' I think that really sparked us a little bit."

Ford did not go as far as calling it the biggest win in his first year as head coach of the Cowboys, but the OSU head coach knows it was a huge victory for a team that just 18 days ago was sitting 3-6 in the conference race.

"I told our guys to be proud because they beat a very good Texas team. Texas has a very good basketball program. They are one of the top basketball programs in the country," Ford said.

"We weren't very happy after that game (in Austin). There's no question it was probably the low point of the season. There were changes, and there have been changes. The guys have embraced it and accepted it. I told them there were two places we could go after that game," added Ford.

"It was a great learning experience. It's not an easy way to learn, and it's not always the way you want to learn but it was a great learning experience for our guys."

The Cowboys play the final regular season home game of the season – and Eaton, Harris and Brown will be honored at Senior Night – when they host Kansas State in a nationally televised contest (ESPN2) against Kansas State. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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