Cowboys Face Huskers In Big 12 Action

Feb. 11, 2003

Oklahoma State Cowboys
(18-3, 7-1) return to Big 12 Conference action
against the Nebraska Huskers (9-12, 1-7)
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 *?7 p.m. (CST)
Devaney Center [13,500] * Lincoln, Neb.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys
Probable Starters (based on last game)

       Name                    Ht.      Wt.     Yr.       PPG        RPG
F  23  Ivan McFarlin           6-8      237     Jr.      11.1        7.3
F  40  Andre Williams          6-8      225     Sr.       4.5        5.6
G   5  Victor Williams         5-10     187     Sr.      14.8        3.5 ^
G  24  Tony Allen              6-4      205     Jr.      15.6        5.1
G  34  Melvin Sanders          6-5      210     Sr.      12.9        4.4

Off the Bench
       Name                    Ht.      Wt.     Yr.       PPG        RPG
C   4  Frans Steyn             7-2      306     So.       0.5        1.0
G  25  Janavor Weatherspoon    6-1      165     Jr.       3.3        1.1
G  30  Cheyne Gadson           6-3      190     Sr.       5.6        3.0 ^
F  33  Jason Miller            6-9      245     Jr.       2.8        3.5

Nebraska Huskers
Probable Starters (based on last game)
       Name                    Ht.      Wt.     Yr.       PPG        RPG
F  44  John Turek              6-9      240     So.       7.5        6.5
F  50  Andrew Drevo            6-8      270     Jr.      13.1        7.9
G   4  Nate Johnson            6-2      180     Jr.      13.3        3.4
G  21  Corey Simms             6-5      205     So.       8.0        5.4
G  32  Brennon Clemmons        6-2      185     Sr.       4.5        3.4
^ denotes assists per game

Oklahoma State will travel to Lincoln, Neb., this week to start the second half of the conference season vs. the Nebraska Huskers. Game time on Wednesday is set for 7 p.m. OSU is coming off a 61-50 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats Sunday afternoon in a break from the league schedule. NU is coming off a 49-75 loss at Texas Tech last Wednesday in Lubbock.

Oklahoma State is ranked 13th in the latest Associated Press poll, and 14th in the most recent USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. The Cowboys are ranked seventh in the Ratings Percentage Index according to Collegiate Basketball News. The Huskers are ranked 109th in the RPI.

On Television
Sunday's game will be televised back to the state of Oklahoma as part of the Cowboy Sports Network. John Holcomb, sports director at KOTV-TV 6 in Tulsa will handle the play-by-play duties, while Doug Gottlieb, former Cowboy point guard and current talkshow host on the Sports Animal in Oklahoma City, will provide color analysis. The game will be televised on KSBI-TV 52 in Oklahoma City, Cox Cable Channel 7 in Stillwater, and Cox Cable Channel 3 in Tulsa.

Last Time Out For OSU
Victor Williams scored a team-high 18 points, but OSU shot just 34 percent from the floor as the Cowboys dropped a non-conference game to Cincinnati, 61-50, Sunday afternoon in the Shoemaker Center. Melvin Sanders added 13 for the Cowboys, who made just 2-of-12 attempts from long range. Meanwhile, the Bearcats were having their way with the OSU defense as Jason Maxiell scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and Leonard Stokes added 15 poitns and 10 rebounds from his guard spot. The `Cats shot 43.4 percent from the floor. OSU trailed by just one at intermission, 27-26, and took a one-point lead on a layup by Sanders 35 seconds into the second stanza. But, UC went on a 14-0 run as OSU missed its next 10 shot attempts from the floor. By then, the Pokes were down by 14 and never got closer than nine the rest of the contest.

About Nebraska
The Huskers are 9-12 overall this season, but 7-4 in home games. Nebraska is 1-7 in league play, with its only win an 80-77 overtime victory over Colorado in Lincoln. NU is led by junior college transfer Nate Johnson, who is averaging 13.3 points per game and leads the team with 50 assists. However, he sat out the game vs. Texas Tech with a knee injury, and is listed as day-to-day. Juco bigman Andrew Drevo is averaging 13.1 points and 7.9 boards per contest. Jake Muhleisen is the only other Husker averaging double figures, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the Kansas game. As a team, NU is averaging 63.6 points per game while giving up 66.8 per contest. The Huskers are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 1.5 rebounds per game.

Last time out for the Huskers
Nebraska shot just 34.6 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers as the Huskers fell to Texas Tech, 75-49, to give Bob Knight his 800th win. Andrew Drevo had 10 rebounds for NU, but shot just 2-of-13 from the floor for five points. John Turek and Brennon Clemmons each scored 10 points for NU, leading the team. Nebraska was down, 37-25, at halftime and was outscored, by 14 in the second period. Andre Emmett scored 24 points for the Red Raiders.

Series with the Huskers: NU leads, 59-47
Nebraska leads the overall series with Oklahoma State, 59-47, including a 33-11 mark in Lincoln. OSU won the last meeting between the two schools, a 70-63 victory in Stillwater last season, but the Huskers won the last meeting in the Devaney Center, 78-75, in overtime. The Cowboys have won three of the last four and 18 of the last 26. Since Coach Sutton returned to OSU, the Pokes are 13-7 vs. the Huskers. For a complete look at the series, check out page 4-60 of the 2002-03 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball Media Guide.

Sutton Surpasses Haskins on Coaching List
Oklahoma State's win over Kansas State on February 5 gave Coach Eddie Sutton his 720th career victory, moving him into sole possession of 13th place on the all-time career wins list. He surpassed Don Haskins, who had 719 wins, all at Texas-El Paso, and played his collegiate basketball at Oklahoma A&M under legendary coach Mr. Iba. The Miners coach for 38 years had a 719-353 career record. Coach Sutton, in his 33rd season overall, is 720-281. Include that with Mr. Iba's 767 career wins, and that's three coaches with OSU ties that have a combined 2,206 career victories.

Sutton Coaches in 1,000th Career Game
Oklahoma State Coach Eddie Sutton became the 17th coach in Division I history to coach in his 1,000th career game when the Cowboys hosted Kansas State on February 5. There are now 17 coaches in NCAA history that have achieved that mark, including Sutton's mentor, Henry Iba, who coached in 1,105 games. Coach Sutton surpassed Gene Bartow (1,000 games coached) for 15th place on the all-time games coached list when the Cowboys played at Cincinnati. By season's end, Coach Sutton will surpass legendary Kansas coach Phog Allen, who coached in 1,010 career games.

Stifling Defense
Eddie Sutton has always preached solid defense, and while OSU's offense has struggled at times this season, the defense has been outstanding. Through 21 games, OSU is allowing 60.3 points per game, second-best in the league behind OU's 60.2, and has allowed an opponent to score in the 70s just three times this season. OSU is allowing its opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor, best in the conference. OSU is also averaging 9.43 steals per game (third in the Big 12 behind Kansas' 10.50 and Texas Tech's 9.63) and 5.71 blocks per contest (third in the league behind ISU's 6.42 and Colorado's 5.86).

Coming up Big on Offense
While Oklahoma State is well-known for its unbreakable defense, the Cowboy offense has been coming into its own lately. For the season, OSU is one of two teams, the other being Colorado, to have four players ranked in the Big 12's top 30 scorers. Tony Allen ranks 14th at 15.6 points per game, while Victor Williams is 16th at 14.8 points per contest. Melvin Sanders is 25th at 12.9 ppg, and Ivan McFarlin is 30th, averaging 11.1 points per contest. Check out these team rankings since league play began in which the Cowboys rank in the top three:

Statistical Category              Big 12 rank   Behind
Three-Point Field Goal Percentage   second      Oklahoma
Field Goal Percentage               second      Kansas
Scoring Defense                     second      Oklahoma
Steals                              second      Kansas
Three-Point FG Percentage Defense    third      Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Blocked Shots                        third      Colorado, Iowa State

Vic Williams vying for spot on All-Big 12
Senior guard Victor Williams has been solid all season long, and has stepped up his game since conference play began. Overall this season, he is averaging 14.8 points per contest as well as 3.5 assists per game. However, through eight league contests, those averages have gone up. Victor ranks sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 18.1 points per game. His assists average in league games is at 3.88 apg, sixth-best in the Big 12. He is tied for second in steals per game at 2.25, and his 79.6 percent shooting from the free-throw line ranks fifth in the league. Victor is shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc, which rank 13th and 11th, respectively in the Big 12. His 1.75 three-point field goals made per game ranks 11th, and his 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratio also ranks 11th. That's eight statistical categories in which Vic ranks among the Big 12's best.

Vic Hits Magical 1,000 Point Mark
With 24 points vs. Texas Tech, senior Victor Williams became the 24th player in school history to record 1,000 points in a career. He surpassed Brooks Thompson, who had 996 points in his two-year career. Against Cincinnati, Vic scored 18 points, moving his OSU career total to 1,075 and into 22nd place on the all-time list. Victor needs 38 points to move past Richard Dumas for 21st place. Vic has 1,306 points in his career at the Division I level, including 245 as a freshman at Illinois State.

Williams Reaches 400 Assists in Career
With two assists vs. Cincinnati, Victor Williams has 309 dishes in his three-year career at Oklahoma State. That ranks him 12th on the OSU career assists list. Next on the list is No. 11 Bill Self, who had 317 assists for OSU from 1982-85. Vic has 412 career assists, including a game-high nine vs. Texas A&M on Feb. 21, 2001, and a season-high 126 last season. He had a season-high eight dishes vs. Texas A&M. Victor currently has 73 assists this season, an average of 3.5 per game.

Allen Living up to Expectations
Junior transfer Tony Allen is doing it all for Oklahoma State. The 6-4 guard leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game this season, and is an all-around player for the Cowboys. He had a career-high 29 points vs. Texas A&M. He has made at least one three pointer in 15 of OSU's 21 games, and is shooting 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from beyond the arc. He had a career-high nine rebounds vs. Texas A&M in College Station, and had career bests in assists (7) and steals (5) vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Chicago native is averaging 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. Defensively, Tony is joining Melvin Sanders as one of the top stoppers on the squad. He limited A&M freshman phenom Antoine Wright to just 15 points on 14 shot attempts, and held OU's Ebi Ere to six points, 12 below his average, on 2-of-10 shooting. Tony was the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the period ending Jan. 12. He earned the honor again for his efforts on the road against Baylor and Texas Tech during the week of Jan. 20-26, and was named the Player of the Week as well.

Tony Steps up his Game in League Road Games
So far in conference play, Tony Allen has stepped up his game, especially on the road. In four home Big 12 games, Tony is averaging just 12.5 points per game, marred mostly by a seven-point performance against Missouri. However, in league road games, he is averaging 20.5 points per game, and shooting 53.4 percent from the floor. He's also averaging seven rebounds per road contest, as well as three steals and just over two assists.

Sanders the Stopper
Senior guard Melvin Sanders is one of the top defensive players in the league and perhaps the country. He is typically assigned to the opposing team's top offensive player, regardless of height, and should be considered for postseason honors based not only on his defensive presence, but his offensive output as well. Offensively, Melvin is third on the squad in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game. He's been extremely consistent, scoring at least eight points in all but one game this season. Defensively, however, Melvin is as good as it gets. Take a look at what he's done against some of the top offensive players in the league:

                           Season Average       Against Sanders
Player, school             PPG       FG%       Points    FG-FGA
Hollis Price, OU          19.2      46.8%         6       2-14
Rickey Paulding, MU       16.9      44.4%        10       3-12
Kenny Taylor, BU          12.8      41.7%         7        2-8
Jake Sullivan, ISU        17.7      48.1%         6       1-10
Brandon Mouton, UT        13.0      43.5%         7       3-12
Gilson DeJesus, KSU       11.9      47.8%         2        1-5
Averages                  15.3      45.4%        6.3      19.7%

Sullivan scored all six of his points in the first five minutes of the game. DeJesus was averaging six shots a game from beyond the arc, making three of them. Melvin limited him to 0-of-1 from long range. Sanders was the primary defensive player on all of them.

McFarlin a Warrior
Ivan McFarlin is the prototypical Coach Sutton player, a "warrior". I-Mac is the toughest player on the team, and certainly one of the hardest workers in the league. He scored a career-high 24 points vs. UMKC and, three games later, broke that with a 27-point performance against BYU. In the UMKC game, McFarlin also had 14 rebounds, recording the eighth double-double of his career. Ivan leads the conference with a 59.0 percent shooting percentage from the floor. He is averaging 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, including 63 boards on the offensive glass.

Cowboys Host Block Parties
On two occasions this season, Oklahoma State has blocked 13 shots in a single game, the third-best mark in school history. OSU had 13 deflections vs. Hartford, and did the same at Wichita State. In the game against Kansas State, the Cowboys blocked 12 Wildcat attempts. This season, OSU has 120 blocked shots as a team, an average of 5.71 per game and the third-most in the Big 12 Conference behind Iowa State and with Colorado. Four players have at least 10 blocked shots this season, led by Andre Williams' 60. Ivan McFarlin has 20, while Tony Allen has 16. Jason Miller has 11 deflections for the Cowboys.

Williams Elite Shot Blocker
Senior forward Andre Williams has 189 career blocks, and is in fourth place on the school career blocked shots list. He leads the team with 60 deflections so far this season, and next on the list is Bryant Reeves, who had 194 blocked shots in his OSU career. His 60 blocks this year ties Reeves for the seventh-most in a single season. Andre had a career-high eight deflections vs. Wichita State, and had seven vs. Kansas State. The only games this year in which he failed to block a shot was vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at Texas. He is currently averaging 2.86 blocks per game this season, and leads the league along with Colorado's David Harrison.

A Trio of Thieves
Oklahoma State has 198 steals this season, led by Victor Williams' 49. Tony Allen has 43, while Melvin Sanders has 37. Those three Cowboys rank first, fourth and eighth, respectively, in the Big 12 in steals per game. Kansas is the only other school in the league that has two individuals in the Top Eight. As a team, OSU is third in the league, averaging 9.43 thefts per contest.

Sanders Has String of Starts
Cowboy senior Melvin Sanders has started every game of his Cowboy career, and has moved into fifth-place on the consecutive starts list. Sanders needs four more starts to tie Bryant Reeves, who started 87 consecutive contests from 1993-95, and five starts to tie Darwyn Alexander. Eight starts would move Melvin into second-place on the consecutive-starts list.

Miscellaneous Notes
The Cowboys' 6-0 start in league play was the best start since 1964-65, when Oklahoma State also started 6-0, and tied for the ninth best conference start in school history ... OSU had seven players score in double figures vs. Alaska-Anchorage, the first time for that to happen in the Eddie Sutton era at OSU ... the Cowboys have shot better from the charity stripe away from Gallagher-Iba Arena (75.2 percent) than at home (59.4 percent) ... Oklahoma State has 61 dunks this season, led by Melvin Sanders' 19 ... OSU has taken 13 charges in 21 games, led by Ivan McFarlin's six ... Oklahoma State has won 17-straight home games, dating back to last season, the eighth-longest streak in the nation.

RPI Rankings
Oklahoma State ranks seventh in the Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News, and has beaten three top-20 teams and is 10-3 vs. the top 100. However, with eight games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Cowboys may have their toughest road ahead of them. According to the RPI posted on Feb. 11, OSU has three of its eight games remaining vs. teams in the top 40, and two of those three are as the visiting team. Oklahoma State has five games vs. teams ranked between No. 40 and 115, and three of those five are in the friendly confines of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Up Next: the Baylor Bears
Oklahoma State will return home to host the Baylor Bears on Saturday, Feb. 15, inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. It will be the first men's basketball game to use the new Daktronics scoreboard in the arena. The scoreboard/video board was scheduled to be used for the first time Wednesday night for the Cowgirls' game vs. Texas.



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