AR-Little Rock 65

(1-1, 0-1 away)

(6) Oklahoma State 90

(2-0, 2-0 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2004

    Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Oklahoma

    1 2 T
    UALR 31 3465
    #6OKST 32 5890

    Top Performers

    Arkansas-Little Rock: B. Freeman 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast

    Oklahoma State: J. Lucas III 22 Pts, 1 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Cowboys shoot 55 percent from the field

    STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- When Oklahoma State needs a spark, the Cowboys know just where to turn.

    John Lucas III scored 22 points -- including three straight 3-pointers to break open a close game -- and Oklahoma State (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) pulled away in the second half to beat Arkansas-Little Rock 90-65 Tuesday night.

    Arkansas-Little Rock (1-1) led 33-32 when Brandon Freeman scored the opening basket of the second half, but Oklahoma State (2-0) started to pull away after Daniel Bobik hit a pull-up jumper to break a 35-all tie.

    Lucas nailed consecutive 3s from the same spot along the right sideline, then popped in an arcing shot from the opposite side and the Cowboys were up 46-37 and rolling.

    "He wants the ball in crunch time," Oklahoma State associate head coach Sean Sutton said. "Sometimes crunch time might be coming out of the second half with a one-point lead and we've got to establish ourselves.

    "He wants to take big shots."

    It's nothing new for Lucas, who hit the shot that sent Oklahoma State to the Final Four last season.

    "That's John," Cowboys forward Terrence Crawford said. "Every time we need a big shot or a big play, he's gonna be there to make it. That's what he did tonight."

    Sutton said the Cowboys are comfortable with their senior point guard switching into the role of a scorer at almost any time.

    "He's just one of those guys who's got the ability to break open a game by himself," Sutton said. "It's a luxury to have."

    Even when Lucas finally missed, Crawford was there to put back the offensive rebound and extend the lead.

    With the game getting out of control, Trojans coach Steve Shields protested a charging call against Zack Wright and was called for a technical foul. Lucas sank both free throws to make it 50-39 and Oklahoma State's lead never again was below 10.

    "I think we got tired, we got out-toughed and we got outcoached," Shields said.

    Frans Steyn got the crowd involved by swatting Richard Hardman's shot in the lane, then running to the other end of the court and sinking a layup to put Oklahoma State up 68-51. He got them cheering again minutes later with a two-handed jam off an entry pass from Bobik and ended the game with a career-high 11 points.

    Steyn, a senior from South Africa, had never scored more than six points in any of his 34 games coming into this season. He's set new career highs in each of the Cowboys' first two games.

    "We felt like he was really coming and making progress and gaining confidence and he could never quite take it to the floor in a game setting," Sutton said. "I thought tonight he was more aggressive. He seemed to be more confident out there."

    Joey Graham added 16 points for the Cowboys, who finished the game with a 12-1 run to make the margin of victory deceptively large.

    "I thought it was good for our guys tonight to be involved in a game like that," Sutton said. "We had to come out and really fight the last 20 minutes. This team gained, I think, a lot from this."

    The Trojans relied on 3-pointers early, scoring 12 of their first 15 points from behind the arc. Freeman had 11 of the team's first 20 points, including three 3-pointers, and put Arkansas-Little Rock ahead 20-17 with an inside layup with 8 minutes left in the first half.

    He finished with 25 points to lead the team, Wright scored 14 and Columbus Willis had 13.

    The Trojans led 24-21 after Willis' basket from just inside the 3-point line, but Crawford's jumper sparked a 9-2 run for the Cowboys. Freeman cut the gap to 32-31 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the Trojans' final possession of the first half.

    The Trojans, winners of the Sun Belt Conference's East Division last season, face another Top 10 team Friday when they play at No. 3 Georgia Tech.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 65 90
    FG Made-Attempted 26-53 (.491) 34-62 (.548)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-11 (.636) 9-17 (.529)
    FT Made-Attempted 6-11 (.545) 13-27 (.481)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 25

    2004-05 Season

    » Nov 23, 2004 @OKST 90, UALR 65Recap