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Late free throws save Oklahoma State

Posted: Saturday November 29, 2003 11:56PM; Updated: Sunday November 30, 2003 12:02AM
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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Tony Allen glanced up at the clock, took a deep breath and clapped his hands in frustration.

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Oklahoma State's leading scorer was struggling badly in the game's final minutes: Allen had missed his last three free throws, had the ball stolen from him and then committed a foul that led to two free throws for upset-minded Pepperdine.

But when things looked their bleakest, Allen came through.

Allen hit the go-ahead free throw with 2.5 seconds left and Joey Graham rebounded Allen's intentional miss on the second attempt and made a free throw to help No. 24 Oklahoma State hold off Pepperdine 84-82 on Saturday night.

"Tony's a gamer," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said. "He's the one you have more confidence in to make the shot to win."

Allen scored 17 points and Ivan McFarlin added 12 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Cowboys win their 30th straight nonconference home game and 109th of their last 110.

Oklahoma State (3-0) needed all it could muster -- a decisive low-post advantage and a frenzied home crowd of 10,040 -- to keep its home streak intact against Pepperdine (1-2).

Shaun Davis scored 21 points and had five assists to lead Pepperdine.

Davis, a 5-foot-11 freshman point guard, was virtually unstoppable off the dribble, repeatedly slipping into the lane to score on a number of twisting drives to the basket.

"He is one of the quickest players I have ever guarded," said Oklahoma State point guard John Lucas, a summer transfer from troubled Baylor. "I have known [former Texas All-American] T.J. [Ford] almost all my life. For a freshman, he can really play."

Davis and Glen McGowan keyed a 12-1 spurt that gave Pepperdine a 74-72 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the game. It was the Waves' first lead since midway through the first half.

But Lucas, who scored all of his 11 points after halftime, hit two free throws with 1:21 remaining to pull the Cowboys to 79-78.

He then snatched the ball away from Davis, leading to a breakaway dunk by Allen and McFarlin followed that up his own slam off a steal to give Oklahoma State an 82-79 lead.

On the next trip down the floor, however, Pepperdine's Terrance Johnson nailed a 3-pointer about four feet beyond the arc to tie up the game at 82-all with 27 seconds left.

That's when Sutton turned to Allen.

The Cowboys cleared out the left side of the floor for Allen, who drove to the basket and was fouled while shooting.

Sutton told Allen during a timeout that if he made the first free throw, to miss the second one. Allen executed the plan to perfection -- it certainly wasn't a problem for him to miss a free throw -- and Graham rebounded the miss to seal the win.

"I think we showed a lot of courage at the end despite all the missed free throws," said Allen, who made 3-of-7 free throws. "We showed a lot of heart. We have to be smarter and learn how to close out games."

The Waves came close to knocking off its second Big 12 foe in as many games -- they were coming off a surprising 94-77 win over Colorado on Monday.

The difference in the game was Oklahoma State's dominance under the basket: the Cowboys outrebounded the Waves 45-33 and outscored them 42-18 in the paint.

Graham chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds, including five on offense.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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