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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anderson well enough: Cowboy standout lights up KU

Kansas defenders Tyshawn Taylor, left, and Xavier Henry collapse on Oklahoma State forward James Anderson as he looks for an outlet late in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

Kansas defenders Tyshawn Taylor, left, and Xavier Henry collapse on Oklahoma State forward James Anderson as he looks for an outlet late in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

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KU-Oklahoma State basketball

Reader poll

Which was more responsible for Oklahoma State's offensive performance against KU on Saturday?

  • Hot shooting 60% 1563 votes
  • Poor defense 36% 948 votes
  • Undecided 2% 62 votes

2573 total votes.

Reader poll

Does it matter to you if Kansas beats North Carolina to 2,000 wins?

  • Yes 62% 180 votes
  • No 37% 107 votes

287 total votes.

— Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said he didn’t sleep well Friday night. The reporters laughed, thinking he was joking.

“I really didn’t,” Ford said — without cracking a smile — following OSU’s 85-77 upset of No. 1 Kansas University on Saturday.

The coach had reason to be worried Friday night.

During that day’s practice, Ford directed his attention elsewhere for a few seconds before turning around to find forward James Anderson lying on the court while getting stretched out by a trainer.

Ford made his way over to his team’s best player.

“You all right?” Ford asked.

“No, coach,” Anderson told him. “My back is killing me.”

Anderson was suffering from back spasms. If he moved the wrong way or leaned back at the wrong angle, he became stuck in that spot and couldn’t move.

After his restless night, Ford couldn’t help but get an early start Saturday.

“I was waiting on him this morning,” Ford said. “I got here and waited on him. I went in the training room with him.”

Still, the news wasn’t what Ford was hoping for.

When Ford asked Anderson how he was doing, the coach hoped that his star player would say that he was great, even if he was hurting.

Instead, the 6-foot-6 junior gave an honest answer: “Coach, it’s a little better, but it’s really bothering me. Really bothering me.”

Anderson couldn’t even make it through his early-morning shoot-around.

“Honestly, we didn’t know if he was going to play or not,” Ford said. “As of last night, I didn’t think there was a chance.”

Anderson not only overcame the odds, he also overwhelmed the Jayhawks on Saturday.

With the adrenaline of a big game running through him, Anderson played 36 minutes, scoring a game-high 27 points on 9-for-19 shooting. He also went 4-for-6 from three-point range and helped hold KU’s Marcus Morris to 10 points.

“I was going to play regardless,” Anderson said. “It could have been a broken leg, I was going to drag it all the way down the court.”

Though Anderson wouldn’t address the question, teammate Obi Muonelo wasn’t shy about talking about Anderson deserving the Big 12’s player of the year.

“No question,” Muonelo said. “He’s been unbelievable the whole year.

“I don’t think he’s had an off night.”

He definitely didn’t have one against the No. 1 team in the nation.

“You saw what we did. We were trying to get him the ball every single time down the court, especially in the last five minutes of the game. Let the ball be in his hands. Play off him,” Ford said.

Comments

jayhawk1954 4 years, 5 months ago

James Anderson is a legitimate, big time player. Hats off to his play against KU. His great play created openings for his teammates when the KU players were double teaming and chasing him all over the floor. The OSU team wanted it more than KU. No time to sulk. Must get ready for KSU on Wednesday.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 5 months ago

Box & one?

Oh I forgot, Rush isn't here...do we have a lock down defender, guess not.

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cklarock 4 years, 5 months ago

Hats off to Anderson -- to have that kind of game while in that kind of pain is impressive.

Hats of to the rest of Okie State as well. That was a good old fashioned ahs-whipping. They came out fired up, executed well, maintained their poise and shot the ball incredibly well throughout the whole of the game.

Looking forward to seeing them do that to a couple more teams in the NCAAs.

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bayareajhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

I respect the heck out of Brady Morningstar. For whatever reason, he's one of my favorite Jayhawks of all time. But Brady could not stay in front of Anderson in the first half and that was a big reason why we were getting slaughtered. Once Anderson got by Brady, the D would have to rotate and help. It would either come too late, letting Anderson score, or it would come on time and Anderson would find the open man, who was usually ready to drain a wide open 3. Basically, Brady was putting us in 5 on 4 situations almost constantly. To use a hockey analogy on this Gold medal afternoon, Brady was giving up odd man rushes. That is not a recipe for success in any sport.

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Brian Leiker 4 years, 5 months ago

Maybe we should have slow played him a bit more, while waiting for Kyle Singlar to dump us. Should have been in blue yesterday.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

KU beats OSU by 20 if they play again. Good game, Cowboys. Enjoy the W, but you won't beat us again this year if you get the chance. In fact, that was KU's final loss of the season.

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