Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oklahoma State ready for rematch with Jayhawks


— After getting a buzzcut from a Colorado sword swipe Friday in the Big 12 Conference tournament quarterfinals, Oklahoma State men's basketball coach Eddie Sutton hopes a night of sleep will get the Cowboys back in tune before today's 3:20 p.m. matchup with Kansas University.

OSU barely escaped Friday's long battle at Kemper Arena, moving into the semifinals with an 87-85 victory over the Buffaloes when a last-second three-point attempt from Marcus Hall didn't fall. The game was marred by 47 fouls and 57 free throws, but Sutton thought the Cowboys' defense was even more of a drag.

It's something the Cowboys needed to cure quickly, Sutton said, before the Wayne Simien-led Jayhawks squared off against them this afternoon

"I've been saying, we're not a good defensive team," Sutton said. "If we play like that (today), Simien will get 50."

Simien was well on his way to the half-century mark when the two teams hooked up almost two weeks ago. The senior collected 32 points and 12 rebounds in an 81-79 KU victory at Allen Fieldhouse -- a classic game still fresh in the Cowboys' minds.

"We definitely have a revenge factor," OSU forward Stephen Graham said. "Plus, we're going to be on a neutral court, so that's going to help us out a lot, too. It's going to be a battle."

Unlike the Jayhawks, who likely will be without Keith Langford again today, the Cowboys are at full strength, led by the strong guard play of JamesOn Curry and John Lucas, and a phenomenal inside-outside threat in Joey Graham, who scored 24 points Friday.

Last meeting, Sutton stuck to man-to-man defense against KU, and it allowed Simien to explode for his career-high in points.

Will the veteran coach change his mind and go for the zone this time around?

"We're certainly taking it under consideration," said Sutton, whose team practiced the zone this week. "There's a good chance we'll use it. We can't let Simien have another game like he did two weekends ago. There's no doubt Kansas doesn't fare well against a zone."

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