Oklahoma State riding momentum into Waco

Two opposite ends of the spectrum -- Oklahoma State, in first-place in the Big 12, and Baylor, 0-3 in conference play. Dave Bliss' troops are ready to take on one of the toughest defenses in the country.


Baylor doesn't have to channel surf to find The 700 Club .

The Bears have seen it live and up close at Big 12 arenas during the last four days.

After Texas Tech's Bob Knight notched his 798th career win in Saturday's 80-64 win over Baylor, Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton will try for his 717th win tonight at 7 at the Ferrell Center.

The No. 13 Cowboys (14-1, 3-0) are the hottest team in the country with a 12-game winning streak.

That's unwelcome news for a Baylor squad that lost its first three Big 12 games against Top 25 teams and has a home date against No. 7 Oklahoma Saturday.

"I'm not sure you can find anyone else in the country that has played five straight Top 25 teams," said Baylor coach Dave Bliss, whose team is 9-5 overall. "But the reality is that we can only worry about what we can control. When we play solidly, we're a very competitive basketball team. We get into problems when we play out of character."

Playing in a tough environment in Lubbock, Baylor poured in four treys to open up an early 16-8 lead against the Red Raiders. But Baylor's offensive execution got sloppier as the game progressed as they committed a season-high 23 turnovers.

Baylor point guard John Lucas said he won't be distracted after his father, John Lucas Jr., was fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday.

"My dad called me and said he'd probably be at our game," Lucas said. "Our family has been in this situation before and we know it's just part of the business. My dad was really in a no-win situation. He'll be fine."

Tonight's game will have special interest to Baylor sophomore guard Ellis Kidd, who redshirted at Oklahoma State two years ago before transferring to Seminole (Okla.) State last season. Kidd has played sparingly in recent games.

"I want to win this one bad," Kidd said. "I want to show them I can play. I was in the playing rotation at Oklahoma State two years ago before I tore up my knee. After the injury, I let my grades slip. So I went to junior college and regained my eligibility."

Baylor's offense will need to be at its peak against the Cowboys, who have allowed just 58.9 points per game and lead the Big 12 by holding opponents to a 37.2 shooting percentage. Sutton's teams have always been known for tough defense, and this is one of his best.

"We're playing as well defensively as any team I've had here in recent years," Sutton said. "Our defense has been especially good on the perimeter. Everyone has really bought into it."

The Cowboys jumped 11 spots to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll after consecutive home wins over Oklahoma and No. 21 Missouri last week. OSU beat the rival Sooners, 48-46, on a jumper by Victor Williams with 3.6 seconds remaining. With Williams scoring 24 points, the Cowboys led Missouri by as many as 35 points before easing to a 76-56 win.

This year's OSU squad is better balanced than last year's team that featured seniors Maurice Baker and Fredrik Jonzen. Junior college transfer guard Tony Allen leads the Cowboys with a 15.9 scoring average, but he's closely trailed by forward Ivan McFarlin (12.3 ppg), Williams (13.5) and Melvin Sanders (13.1).

Williams was named Big 12 player of the week after averaging 20 points in OSU's wins over Oklahoma and Missouri.

"During the last two years, we had a tendency to stand around and watch Mo Baker because he was such a tremendous offensive player," said OSU assistant coach Sean Sutton. "This year, we're better balanced. Tony Allen's offense has been a surprise. He's a great athlete who can create his own shots."

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