Ouch! Cowboys Ready For Some Rest

As much as it hurts, both literally and figuratively, Oklahoma State's loss Friday night to 14th-ranked Missouri in a semifinal game of the Big 12 Championships could be a blessing in disguise. The Cowboys, after playing three games in three days, will now get time to recuperate – and no one needs it more than point guard Byron Eaton – while waiting for Sunday's NCAA Tournament selection show.

The Cowboys, 21-11, could have improved their chances of a higher seeding in the NCAA Tournament with a win over the Tigers, 27-6, and then by defeating Baylor on Saturday for the Big 12 tourney title. But playing four days in 96 hours, and with Eaton hobbling on a sprained toe, it's probably best that the Cowboys will have some time to rest before a first-round game in the NCAA tourney either Thursday or Friday.

Not much went right for the Cowboys Friday night against the Tigers. They scored 59 points (their lowest output in 32 games this season) while shooting 35.6 percent from the field (second lowest) and 16 percent from three-point range (again the worst of the season).

"We really executed our game play. We wanted to pack it in as much as possible and force Missouri to shoot jump shots, and we did that," OSU head coach Travis Ford said. "We got out to a good lead and then we got into some serious, serious foul trouble, and then Byron gets hurt, and we couldn't get out of the (first) half the way we needed to.

"Neither team shot the ball well but when it comes down to that it's going to come down to the team that gets the most shots, and we turned the ball over way to many times (17) in order to be successful tonight. When you're not making shots, obviously the more opportunities you get is better. When you're turning it over it just eliminates those opportunities."

The Cowboys led 15-10 midway through the first half when Eaton sprained his toe with 9:32 remaining in the half. With Eaton in the locker room getting his toe X-rayed (they proved to be negative), the Tigers cut the margin to 23-21 at halftime.

In the second half, Ford's team suffered another setback when James Anderson picked up his fourth foul with 13:05 remaining on the clock. Oklahoma State led 38-35 at the time, but the Tigers outscored the Cowboys 14-6 with Anderson on the bench and led 49-44 when he returned to the lineup with just under seven minutes remaining. The Cowboys pulled within four on several occasions but that was as close as they would get.

Eaton played much of the second half but it was apparent that he was not playing at 100 percent. He finished with four points and just three assists while turning the ball over eight times. He was 0-for-7 from the field.

"Initially I was thinking it was an extremely serious injury," Ford said, "but we won't know (the extent of the injury) until tomorrow when he wakes up to see exactly how he's feeling. I believe he's going to be OK and be able to play in our next game.

"We definitely need Byron (for the NCAA Tournament). There's no question. He's going to be OK. He'll get back and be ready to go."

Anderson led the Cowboys with 20 points and added nine rebounds despite playing just 28 minutes because of foul trouble. Marshall Moses finished with a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Obi Muonelo contributed 13 points.

"We need to get him (Moses) the ball a lot more than we did. We were yelling and telling our guys to run set plays to get it inside," Ford said. "We had some guys penetrate and to do some things on their own when we probably should have just thrown it inside (to Moses) a little bit more."

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