STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- With a look up and a simple gesture,
Eddie Sutton took time to say "thanks" to the man who helped
inspire his winning ways.
Sutton tied his mentor Henry Iba for seventh place on the career
coaching victories list when No. 6 Oklahoma State beat Missouri
78-68 on Tuesday night.
"Mr. Iba would be thrilled because he was a teacher, and I
think the greatest credit that can be given is when somebody that
you coached or taught does well," Sutton said.
Joey Graham scored a season-high 27 points and John Lucas added
18 for the Cowboys (12-1, 2-0 Big 12). They took the lead for good
with two free throws by Stephen Graham midway through the second
half and then held off the Tigers (9-6, 1-1), who moved within a
point on three occasions.
Terrence Crawford drained two free throws to start a 6-0 run
that gave Oklahoma State its largest lead of the second half, 69-61
with just under 4 minutes to play.
Crawford added a runout, two-handed jam and Stephen Graham
finished the surge with a reverse layup and the orange-clad crowd
could taste Sutton's landmark win.
Sutton improved to 767-293 in his career, which included stints
at Creighton, Arkansas and Kentucky before he returned to his alma
mater in 1990.
He sat on the bench with his arms folded and his trademark scowl
on his face when things weren't going the Cowboys' way. He pointed
and gestured to his assistant coaches and was always at the right
hand of his son, Sean Sutton, who will take over the Cowboys if
ever Eddie decides to retire.
Sutton walked onto the court without pomp or circumstance,
taking his seat three spots from the end of the Cowboys' bench and
taking a look around a sold-out Gallagher-Iba Arena before walking
to midcourt to greet Missouri coach Quin Snyder and the officials.
"It was a special night," Sutton said.
He shook Snyder's hand again before walking off the court as the
public address announcer proclaimed his achievement of tying Iba,
whom Sutton played for at Oklahoma State and got his coaching start
under. After more handshakes, he turned around and headed to the
locker room like after any other victory.
But as he walked off the court, he pointed up.
"Mr. Iba, I kind of acknowledged," Sutton said of the gesture.
"I said 'Thanks."
Sutton had plenty of reasons to be thankful. It was his mentor
that instilled the values of defense that Sutton credits for
carrying him to success.
"He was a marvelous basketball coach, but I think even a finer
person, and I think that's why all of us who played for him call
him Mr. Iba," Sutton said.
"The only guy I know that doesn't call him Mr. Iba is Bob
(Knight), and he calls him Henry. Knight can get away with that,
but I'm not sure any of us would feel comfortable calling him Henry
or even Coach."
For a few days, Sutton will stand on even ground with Mr. Iba.
He'll try to pass him Saturday when the Cowboys play Iowa State.
Sutton wasn't ready to consider himself on the same footing as
"When you look at the record, it's a little deceiving in that
we play a lot more games today than Mr. Iba did," Sutton said.
"He coached a few years longer than I did."
Linas Kleiza scored 24 points to lead Missouri. He fought off
endless boos following an early technical foul and his tough inside
play helped cause two Oklahoma State defenders to foul out.
"I've gotten to know Eddie through some mutual friends, and he
is a great man," Snyder said. "He always has an encouraging word.
"Before the game tonight, he told me that we had been playing
great defense and that is a pretty big compliment coming from him.
After the game, I just wanted to congratulate him on his incredible
achievement and all the things he has accomplished."
Stephen Graham finished with 13 points for Oklahoma State, which
had lost to the Tigers each of the previous two seasons, including
a 93-92 loss in double overtime last season in Missouri.
The teams traded leads five times within a frenetic, 2-minute
span midway through the second half after Jason Conley's steal and
fastbreak layup tied it at 43.
After Joey Graham hit two free throws to put Oklahoma State
ahead, Jason Horton hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the
Tigers a 46-45 lead with 13 minutes to play.
Lucas scored on three straight possessions for Oklahoma State as
the Cowboys went up 51-48, but Missouri got inside baskets from
Marshall Brown and Kleiza to pull back ahead 52-51. It was the last
time the Tigers would lead.
The Cowboys -- completely unaware of the significance -- charged
back and provided a win to make it Sutton's night.
"I had no idea," Lucas said. "Coach has not mentioned
anything about it. I think he is one of those coaches that does not
get caught up in record-breaking and stuff like that. He did not
mention it to us at all. He was just getting us prepared and ready
"It was business as usual."