Can OSU End Mizzou's Home-Court Win Streak?

The Oklahoma State Cowboys began a challenging, three-games-in-five-days stretch in good form, defeating Texas A&M 76-69 on Wednesday night. Now Travis Ford's club faces the unenviable task of getting ready to play at Missouri in an early afternoon game Saturday - and being careful not to look ahead to the showdown vs. Texas two days later on Feb. 1.

Defeating the Tigers on the road is no easy chore; Missouri's unique, attacking style and deep bench makes Mike Anderson's team a difficult matchup. Sophomore guard Kim English (14.6 ppg) leads the Tigers in scoring, but Missouri isn't lacking for options on offense, particularly from beyond the arc.

The Cowboys shot the ball exceptionally well vs. Texas A&M, hitting 22-of-38 shots from the field (57.9 percent), including an impressive 12-of-18 beyond the arc as guards Obi Muonelo, Keiton Page and James Anderson all hit two-thirds of their three-point attempts.

After starting Big 12 play 1-2, the Cowboys have reeled off three straight wins, and they enter a tough stretch of the schedule looking like one of the conference's more formidable teams, especially after following the upset of Kansas State on Jan. 23 by taking care of business against Texas A&M. However, now they must hit the road -- something they haven't relished this season, the win at K-State aside.

OKLAHOMA STATE 76, TEXAS A&M 69: Senior guard Obi Muonelo's sharp shooting helped the Cowboys (16-4, 4-2) to victory vs. the Aggies. Muonelo scored a season-best 24 points and drained 6-of-9 three-pointers as Oklahoma State shook off game Texas A&M (14-6, 3-3), which trailed early but tied the game up at halftime and led by as many as four points in the second half before the Cowboys eventually re-took control. Junior guard James Anderson added 19 for the Cowboys. Senior guard Donald Sloan scored a game-high 27 points for Texas A&M.

b --Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of the airplane crash near Strasburg, Colo. that killed 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball program.
--Eddie Sutton was around, but as a player. Henry Iba was his coach. That's the kind of history Oklahoma State was bucking when it faced Kansas State on Jan. 23. The last time the Cowboys upset a top-10 opponent on the road was in 1958. Yet they didn't seem to mind. Oklahoma State preserved a lead down the stretch and prevailed 73-69 against an opponent that five days earlier knocked off No. 1 Texas. The outcome ended a record 14-game winning streak for the Wildcats in Bramlage Coliseum.
Welcome to the Big 12. The Cowboys even pulled off the upset with one starter missing. Point guard Ray Penn aggravated a slight knee problem two days earlier in practice and OSU elected to rest the freshman. "We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people who haven't played much," OSU coach Travis Ford said. "We were down one young man, who's our point guard, against a team that applies a lot of pressure. We were concerned. We told our guys, we need to try to win this game possession by possession. Literally, that's kind of what we did."
--Oklahoma State fields one of the smallest lineups in the Big 12 and confronted a Kansas State team on Jan. 23 that led the Big 12 with an average of 16 offensive rebounds per game. The Cowboys manned up, claiming a 40-34 advantage on the boards. The Wildcats did manage to reach their average on the offensive glass with 17 caroms, but no one had more than three.

ON THE SPOT: The Cowboys have defended the perimeter well this season, allowing opponents to hit just 32.3 percent of their three-point attempts entering their matchup with Texas A&M. However, Texas A&M guard Donald Sloan hit 5-of-6 three pointers vs. the Cowboys, and sophomore Dash Harris hit 4-of-9 attempts beyond the arc. Oklahoma State will need to play tough perimeter defense to extend its winning streak to four.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a team effort. I just put the finishing touch on it (with late free throws). Everybody came together. And we believed we could win, which is big." -- Oklahoma State G Nick Sidorakis.

SEASON RECAP: It's never too early to analyze the possible NCAA Tournament qualifiers from the Big 12, especially for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys got a huge boost by winning Jan. 23 at Kansas State, a much-needed quality road win to add to the resume. Analysts predict the Big 12 will send half its teams to the NCAA Tournament, so any edge Oklahoma State can gain on a winning record in conference play is essential.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Marshall Moses, G James Anderson, G Obi Muonelo, G Keiton Page, G Ray Penn. Key Subs -- G Fred Gulley, G Nick Sidorakis, F Matt Pilgrim, F Roger Franklin.

Baylor 83, Oklahoma State 70
Oklahoma State 90, Colorado 78
Oklahoma State 73, Kansas State 69
Oklahoma State 76, Texas A&M 69

at Missouri, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. Texas, Monday, Feb. 1
at Texas Tech, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Oklahoma, Saturday, Feb. 13

--Junior F Matt Pilgrim was the only Cowboys bench player to score. He chipped in four points in 13 minutes.
< --Freshman PG Ray Penn missed a second-straight game with a knee injury. Fellow freshman Fred Gulley got a second consecutive start and scored eight points in 30 minutes. Also, he committed just one turnover.
--G Obi Muonelo has scored in double figures in four consecutive games. The senior has averaged 19.3 points in that span.
--G James Anderson netted 30 points at Kansas State. It was the sixth time the junior has reached that mark in his career, making him the active Big 12 leader for 30-point performances.

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