Anderson, Page Light It Up

STILLWATER – James Anderson and Keiton Page enjoy playing inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Oklahoma State duo was just 7-for-22, and made just 3 of 13 three-pointers, in a 13-point loss at Baylor a month ago. But Anderson and Page lit it up Saturday, combining to score 53 points on 16-of-29 shooting and made 10 treys, in leading the Cowboys to a much-needed 82-75 victory over the 22nd-ranked Bears.

The victory improves OSU's record to 19-7 overall and 7-5 in Big 12 play, and gets the Cowboys within the eight conference victories that many think all but guarantees an NCAA bid.

Baylor is now 20-6 overall and 7-5 in league play.

While Anderson and Page were lighting it up for the Cowboys (against a Baylor defense that ranked second in field goal percentage defense), the Bears top scorers were struggling. LaceDarius Dunn (19.1 ppg), Tweety Carter (15.9) and Ekpe Udoh (13.5) scored 47 points while making 18 of 33 shots in the Bears' win over the Cowboys on Jan. 16 in Waco. Dunn had 25 points but made just 5 of 17 shots to finish with 14 points on Saturday. Baylor's top three players made made just 17 of 52 shots.

"You saw two teams that really battled," said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford. "Both teams played pretty good. We did some good things; they did some really good things. We played against a team that I really think is one of the best teams in our league."

Oklahoma State shot 48.2 percent from the field against a Baylor team that was limiting its opponents to just 37.5 shooting. The Cowboys tied a season-high with 14 three-pointers, with Anderson and Page each going 5 for 8 from behind the three-point line. OSU's made 56 percent of its treys against the Bears, who were only allowing opponents to make 33 percent from behind the line.

The Cowboys also played outstanding defense and out-rebounded the much taller Bears 24-20 in the second half.

"Look at the conference statistics, they are up there in field percentage, (ranking) second and we were able to hold them to 38. In field goal percentage defense, they're right at the very top, and we were able to figure out a way to shoot 48 percent. Those were all keys for us to play a good game against what I think is a great team," Ford said. "We also rebounded the ball better in the second half, and that was the key for us."

The Cowboys jumped on the Bears early thanks to the play of Page, who scored 12 of his team's first 22 points. Page made his first three-pointers and also sank three free throws after being fouled on a fourth three-point attempt. The Cowboys were 5-of-7 from behind the arc in taking a 22-9 lead just eight minutes into the game.

Back-to-back threes from Anderson gave OSU a 28-14 lead midway through the first half but the Cowboys went nearly six minutes without scoring and the Bears eventually made it a 38-36 game at halftime.

The second half played out much like the first meeting between the two teams in Waco when it was a close affair until the Bears pulled away late. In January, OSU tied the game 53-53 on Anderson's four-point play (a three-pointer and free throw after being fouled) but the Bears went on a 13-2 run en route to the victory.

On Saturday, the Bears used a 9-0 run to take a one-point lead over the Cowboys and were up 59-58 with just over seven minutes to play. But that's when Anderson took over – scoring from the free-throw line, a three-pointer from the corner and then feeding Matt Pilgrim for an easy basket – to put the Cowboys back on top 65-61. Baylor never got closer than three in the final five minutes.

"I remeinded our team we've been in this position before and we didn't finish it out," Ford said. "We didn't let them go on that one big run (Saturday) that they went on at Baylor.

"We got stuck on 28 (in the first half), and I reminded our team at halftime why we got stuck on 28. It was because neither James Anderson nor Keiton Page touched the ball in about a six-minute span. We had about four other guys take shots, and that's fine because I don't mind other guys taking shots after those two guys get a touch or an opportunity but they play off those guys.

"I told them at halftime you'd better get James the ball and get him touches because it will bring people to them and it will leave you wide open, and Matt (Pilgrim) you're going to find yourself wide open under the basket, and that was key," Ford continued.

Anderson matched his season high with 31 points (the third time this season), and also grabbed a tem-high 12 rebounds. He also added four assists, two blocked shots and one steal. Page contributed 22 points, while Pilgrim added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Obi Muonelo pitched in with 11 points, 6 rebounds and a season-high 6 assists.

"You have to credit Oklahoma State for shooting the ball well," said Baylor head coach Scott Drew. "James Anderson showed why he is one of the top players in the league. Today, we had no answer for him, and I thought Keiton Page really played an exceptional game."

It doesn't get any easier for the Cowboys as they go on the road to face the 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns (21-6) on Wednesday night. OSU lost to Texas 72-60 on Feb. 1 in Stillwater.

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