OSU To Face Iowa State In Big 12 Tourney

James Anderson did his best to give Oklahoma State an extra day off before playing in the Big 12 tournament. But the Cowboy sophomore's career-high 37 points were not enough as Oklahoma State lost to the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, 82-78, on Saturday in Norman. OSU will be the No. 7 seed and will face No. 10 seed Iowa State in a first-round game of the Big 12 tourney at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Oklahoma State finishes the regular season at 20-10 overall and in a tie for fourth place with four teams in the Big 12 with a 9-7 conference record. But the Cowboys will be the seventh seed in the Big 12 tourney because of the conference's tie-breaker system.

Entering the game, the Cowboys were hoping a win over OU and a Texas loss to Kansas on Saturday would give them the fourth seed in the conference tournament and a first-round bye, delaying their first game until Thursday.

"I thought our kids really battled and played very, very hard," said OSU head coach Travis Ford. "We just couldn't come up with that big rebound, or make that big three ... we missed a couple of free throws late, just those plays you need to beat a top-five team in the country on the road.

"We just didn't make those plays down the stretch, and Oklahoma did. We just missed those couple of plays at the end, but it wasn't because of effort. Our kids gave everything they had tonight, and you have to give Oklahoma credit."

OU, behind sophomore standout Blake Griffin's 33-point, 14-rebound performance, improves to 27-4 overall and 13-3 in Big 12 play to secure the second seed in the postseason tournament.

"Blake Griffin might be the best player I've ever played against or coached against. I really believe that," Ford said of Griffin, who scored 59 points and grabbed 33 rebounds in the Sooners' two wins over the Cowboys this season.

"We threw everything we could at him," Ford continued talking about Griffin. "He does it with such a calmness, and with him in their lineup they're just really, really good. But I think our team as a group was very good tonight, but we were just a couple of plays short."

Griffin's performance -- probably his final one in the Lloyd Noble Center -- overshadowed an outstanding effort by the Cowboys' Anderson. The OSU sophomore scored 37 points while shooting 12-of-12 from the field (2 of 6 on three-pointers) and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.

"James Anderson played one of the best games I've seen in a very long time," Ford said. "He was pretty much the only offensive weapon we had at one point because Byron was struggling (he finished with 14 points) and Terrel (10 points) was on the bench."

OSU defeated Iowa State 86-67 in Stillwater on Feb. 14 with Anderson (27), Harris (21) and Eaton (16) combining for 64 of the Cowboys' 86 points. A win over the Cyclones would give the Cowboys a chance to avenge their two losses to the Sooners this season as the two Bedlam rivals would meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

"Any time you beat a team one time it's always difficult to do it again," Ford said of meeting the Cyclones on Wednesday. "We've got a challenge at hand, and we'll get back on the court and start preparing."

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