Muonelo, Moses Set Up Bedlam III

Obi Muonelo has only defeated Bedlam rival Oklahoma once in six games since arriving at Oklahoma State, and teammate Marshall Moses is winless in four meetings. But Muonelo and Moses combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds to lead OSU to an 81-67 victory over Iowa State on Wednesday to set up a third meeting this season with the Sooners in Thursday's quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships.

Oklahoma State, now 21-10, will be trying to avenge a pair of losses this season to the sixth-ranked Sooners, 27-4. The Cowboys lost 82-78 to the Sooners this past Saturday in Norman, and suffered an 89-81 loss on Jan. 26 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Muonelo played just 11 minutes and scored just two points in the four-point loss to Oklahoma in the Cowboys' regular-season finale this past Saturday. In the past month, since being replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Keiton page, the junior from Edmond has struggled. He is averaging just 5.6 points and 3.0 rebounds since coming off the bench.

But Muonelo was outstanding against the Cyclones. He played 25 minutes Wednesday night (the most since Feb. 10 against Texas, and finished with 18 points (tying Moses for team high), a team-best nine rebounds, and two assists. He was 6-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the three-point line.

"The past three or four days in our coaching staff meetings his name has been brought up more than once because we saw him getting down a little bit," Cowboy head coach Travis Ford said in the postgame news conference. "There's no question he's probably been a little disappointed, but we've made statements over and over in our staff meetings that we've got to get Obi ready to go because he's going to be a factor.

"We can't win without Obi. We need him playing 20 to 25 minutes. I think he let not starting affect him a little bit, which is very natural, and I think tonight he put everything aside and said I'm going to do everything I can to help this team win and not worry about things I can't control.

"He looked like he did the first 10, 15 games of the year when he played with a high level of energy," Ford continued. "When he works that hard he camouflages some of the weaknesses that he has, and he made some huge shots. I'll tell you what, he made big shot after big shot tonight, and that was big."

The win allows the Cowboys another shot at the Sooners, but in most everyone's opinion – including Muonelo's – it was a victory that also cinched an NCAA Tournament berth.

"I think this game definitely puts us in the NCAA Tournament," Muonelo said. "We've worked hard to get to this point. All year coach has talked to us about working hard to get to the tournament. That was our goal to start out the year, and I think this game definitely solidifies that.

"Bedlam is a huge game for us, especially for me being from Oklahoma. I take it very seriously because they've already beaten us twice, and that really, really bothers me. We're just going to go in and play the best we can."

Moses tied a career high with 18 points and also contributed six rebounds, while James Anderson (14 points), Terrel Harris (12) and Byron Eaton (11) also scored in double figures.

"I'm very proud of our team, especially the way they responded in the second half," Ford said. "We had to regroup (after falling behind 38-35) at halftime. I didn't think that we were playing with the energy level and the aggressiveness that we needed.

"These two guys right here were the difference in the game for us. When you've got guys struggling from the three-point line, and Obi comes in and knocks down big shot after big shot. We got to a point where we said you've got to throw it to Marshall. We've got to get Marshall the ball. We've got to penetrate the zone at some point … and he responded with some great baskets.

"I'm very proud of these guys and glad to get the win."

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