Homers: Cowboys Rout Red Raiders

Oklahoma State knows the only way to earn an NCAA Tournament berth in the Big 12 Conference – the best league in the nation this season – is by holding home-court advantage. Big 12 teams are 111-1 at home this season, and the Cowboys did their part to remain perfect inside Gallagher-Iba Arena with Saturday night's 81-52 victory over 22nd-ranked Texas Tech in the conference opener for both teams.

Oklahoma State improves to 13-2 overall, including a perfect 9-0 inside the friendly confines of Gallagher-Iba Arena. Texas Tech is now 12-3, with all three of its losses being on the road.

James Anderson led four Cowboys in double figures with a game-best 28 points, including almost single-handedly scoring as many points as Texas Tech in the first half. Anderson scored 25 points in the first 20 minutes of play to lead the Cowboys to a 44-27 halftime advantage.

Obi Muonelo recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds, freshman point guard Ray Penn contributed 12 points and three assists with just one turnover in 33 minutes, and Matt Pilgrim added 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals while playing a season-high 23 minutes.

But in what is proving to be the best major college basketball conference in the nation it is an absolute must to win home games, and the Cowboys held Texas Tech 28 points below its scoring average of 80.4 per game. Tech junior guard John Roberson entered the game averaging 13.9 points but was held scoreless for the first time in his career while taking just five shots.

"Every head coach in our league is talking about how you'd better win at home. You'd better win at home," OSU's Travis Ford said. "And then if you win at home, you'd better go get one on the road that you didn't think you were going to win.

"We've got a lot of schools, except for two, Kansas and Texas, everybody else is out there fighting to make the NCAA Tournament. I think we're a seven-bid league, so I think you can look at it that way. You have to compete and find some wins. We've got a tough schedule … we need to win some home games and find a way to win somewhere on the road," Ford added.

Texas Tech jumped out to an 8-2 lead and was up 16-7 eight minutes into the game before Anderson and the Cowboys came alive. OSU missed seven of its first eight shots to fall behind before Anderson's three-pointer at the 11:36 mark gave them a spark. A few seconds later the OSU junior completed a traditional three-point play.

Anderson and the Cowboys went on a 29-1 run – yes, that's correct, OSU outscored Tech 29-1 – during a stretch of seven-plus minutes in the first half. Tech led 21-18 after a Mike Singletary free throw with 9:27 on the clock but the only point by the Red Raiders over the next 7:31 was a free throw from David Tairu.

The Cowboys were all but unstoppable during that stretch, especially Anderson, who scored 14 points by himself.

"When we couldn't score we said, James we're kind of going to jump on your back and you carry us," Ford said. "He made a few shots. He knocked down some threes, which he is capable of doing. But I thought the difference in the game was Matt Pilgrim. I thought he gave us a spark when Marshall (Moses) got in foul trouble.

"Tonight we played well. The best way to put it is that we went out and won the game. We didn't go out to lose, we didn't go out to just hang in there. We went out and played hard, and won a good basketball game," Ford continued.

OSU now goes on the road for its next two games, beginning with Monday night's Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma in Norman.

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