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Bulldogs' strong finish holds off Cowboys

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With his team's best player limited by an
ankle injury, J.P. Batista came off the bench to lift
Gonzaga (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) to another big upset.

Batista shot 8-of-9 from the floor for a career-high 18 points
and Adam Morrison scored 19 to help the Bulldogs beat No. 3
Oklahoma State 78-75 Tuesday night in Gonzaga's second upset of a
third-ranked team this season.

Batista, who had never before scored more than 10 points in a
game, received more playing time because Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga's
leading scorer, was hampered by an ankle injury and in foul
trouble.

"I knew that Ronny was kind of doubtful for tonight and I had
to prepare myself mentally to step up at the right times," Batista
said.

Batista, a junior college transfer, hit his first eight shots as
the Bulldogs (10-1) used a strong shooting performance to build a
big lead before holding on for the win. Gonzaga led by as many as
16 points early in the second half, but needed a strong finish to
hold off the charging Cowboys.

Oklahoma State (9-1) pushed its way back into the game with a
21-8 run that John Lucas III capped with a 3-pointer from the left
corner to make it 65-62 with 9½ minutes to play. After a 9-2 run by
Gonzaga, the Cowboys drew to within a point on two occasions but
could not take the lead.

"They're just so tough," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "That
more than anything is what I'm most proud of -- we matched their
toughness tonight."

Oklahoma State head coach designate Sean Sutton questioned his
team's defensive play after allowing the Bulldogs to make 57
percent of their shots.

"It was soft," Sutton said. "It was a pitiful display of how
to play post defense."

Sutton said he also thought his team got away from its offensive
style by shooting 31 3-pointers.

"Our big guys, they wouldn't demand the ball," Sutton said.
"They didn't want the ball. ... They didn't demand the ball and
when they got it, they didn't make plays."

Turiaf, who had averaged 20 points in Gonzaga's first 10 games,
had 10 points in 18 minutes. Few said he thought Turiaf's ankle was
about 50 percent and he was only using the senior to fill up
minutes off the bench.

"I can't say enough about what Ronny did tonight," Few said.

Erroll Knight added 11 points for the Bulldogs, who are 2-1
against Top 5 teams this season. Gonzaga beat then-No. 3 Georgia
Tech 85-73 on Dec. 18 and lost to No. 1 Illinois 89-72 on Nov. 27.

Reserve Stephen Graham scored 22 points to lead the Cowboys, and
Lucas had 19.

Gonzaga raced out to a 26-15 lead before the Cowboys came to
life with a 13-3 run. The Bulldogs pulled away again, and led by
nine at halftime after shooting 65 percent in the first half.

The hot shooting continued into the second half as Gonzaga
stretched its lead to 57-41 when Turiaf scored with 18 minutes to
play.

After Oklahoma State rallied within three, the Bulldogs pushed
back ahead with a 9-2 run that Morrison finished with a 3-pointer
from the left wing to make it 74-65.

The Cowboys made it 74-73 after Ivan McFarlin's basket inside,
but Turiaf answered with a spinning right-hander on the other end.

Stephen Graham again pulled the Cowboys within a point with a
jumper from the free-throw line, but the Cowboys would not score
again.

Morrison hit a jumper in the lane to extend the lead and Lucas'
3-point try at the buzzer didn't hit the rim, dropping Oklahoma
State to its first loss.

Few said he was impressed with the win against a
"national-championship caliber" team in an environment that was
hardly neutral. Most of the crowd was wearing bright Oklahoma State
orange.

"In lieu of all the adversity we had tonight, it's up there
with any regular-season win we've ever had," Few said.