Cowboys Get (Delay Of Game) Victory

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State's season opener Saturday had a little bit of everything. Head coach Travis Ford took his team back to the locker room four times while waiting for the officials to show up. Seattle University left Gallagher-Iba Arena before the game started to go eat lunch. To top it off the Cowboys had three players record double-doubles in capturing the 86-64 victory over Seattle.

James Anderson led the way for the Cowboys with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Marshall Moses (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Obi Muonelo (12 and 11) also finished with double-doubles.

The game was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday but when the officials were nowhere to be found about an hour and a half before the opening tip there was a panic. The three – Mike Eades, Ray Natilli and Tim Kelly – believed the game was to begin at 7 p.m., and had to rush from Oklahoma City to Stillwater.

But it was nearly three o'clock before they arrived. When the Cowboys took the court for pregame warm ups, after going back and forth from the court to the locker room four times, the opponent from Seattle could not be found because first-year head coach Cameron Dollar had taken his team to Quizno's for lunch.

"Personally, for me, I was hot. I was irate," said Moses of the opening tip being delayed one hour, 34 minutes. "I do think though instead of it being something bad it was something positive. It motivated our guys because I think a lot of them felt like I felt, we're ready to play, we're ready for this game, we know this team's good. We were ready to play."

The Cowboys showed it by scoring the game's first seven points and building a 25-8 lead in the first 12 minutes. They stretched the lead to as many as 27 in the second half before Seattle made a run. The Redhawks scored 17 consecutive points to pull within 63-53 with about five minutes to play before Anderson's tip in ended the Cowboys' nearly five-minute scoring drought. OSU outscored Seattle 21-11 the rest of the way to capture the win.

But it was the third time in the last week – the two exhibition game victories and Saturday afternoon – that Ford has seen his team lead by 20 or more points before allowing the opponent to make a comeback.

"We were very sloppy. In three games now we've had over 20-point leads and we quit in all three games," said Ford, referring to Saturday's blown 27-point lead, and 20-plus leads in exhibition victories over Central Oklahoma and Dillard. "We've got to do a better job of handling the basketball.

"I told the guys in the locker room that a lot of that goes on the older guys. A lot of the reason that these teams are coming back on us is because of leadership, don't blame it on the freshmen. Last year Byron would grab somebody in the huddle and bring everybody together, he was the leader and got guys in the right place. Byron was very good at that. We need guys stepping up and taking that leadership role on the court."

Ford was surprised that the Cowboys only shot 2-of-15 from three-point range – including 1-for-6 by Keiton Page and 0-of-4 from Ray Penn – and still won by 22 points.

"I'm very excited we won the game on a night when we weren't at our best," Ford added. "I wasn't real happy with the way we played. We made a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball. Our defense is just way ahead of our offense right now, and a lot of that has to do with two freshmen playing the point guard spot. Both Ray (Penn) and Fred (Gulley) totally held it down tonight. Keiton (Page) didn't play there at all just because he's still extremely gimpy.

"It's not our best but I'm glad we won, and we got some guys some good minutes."

Ford has a few days to work with his team before the Cowboys return to action Wednesday night against Southern at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Someone please inform the officials that the opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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