Cowboy (wake) up
Oklahoma St. arises in second half, rolls past No. 15 Eastern Washington
Posted: Friday March 19, 2004 5:56PM; Updated: Friday March 19, 2004 6:38PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton chewed out the Cowboys at halftime.
They got the message.
Opening the second half with a 12-2 run, the No. 2 seed Big 12 champions overcame a surprising halftime deadlock and rolled past pesky Eastern Washington 75-56 Friday.
"There were some profane words," Sutton said. "I told them from now on, there's no such thing as an upset. The biggest thing is to try to convince your players that everyone deserves respect. But I don't think we'll have to give any more Knute Rockne speeches."
The Eagles (17-13), making their first NCAA appearance, got 12 first-half points from Gregg Smith, their 6-foot-10, 285-pound center who had 2 inches and 48 pounds on Ivan McFarlin, the Cowboys' biggest starter.
But Smith, who averaged 2.6 points this season, had only four points against the Cowboys' tough defense in the second half, sitting out the first 4 1/2 minutes after halftime.
"That was just bad defense," Sutton said. "I could score if they were giving it to me in there like they were giving it to him. That's a no-catch zone. The ball should not be caught down there."
In the second round of the East Rutherford Regional on Sunday, the Cowboys will meet No. 7 seed Memphis, a 59-43 winner over South Carolina.
"We came out sluggish and coach warned us that it would be a good game if we took them lightly," Oklahoma State's Tony Allen said. "We did, and it was."
The Cowboys and Eagles were tied at 36 at half, and Oklahoma State (28-3) didn't put away the slower-but-game underdogs until Allen keyed a 14-2 spree late in the second half that turned a seven-point lead into a 69-50 bulge with 4:05 to go.
McFarlin had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State and Allen had 17 points. John Lucas, the Big 12 player of the year, scored 15.
"The first half was the worst half of basketball we've played defensively," Sutton said. "We weren't alert at all. In the second half the whole difference was us playing alert."
Alvin Snow, the Big Sky Conference player of the year and Eastern Washington's leading scorer with a 15.2-point average, missed his first seven shots. He did not score until he made a layup with 2:10 left that cut Oklahoma State's lead to 73-56.
"When he got the ball we just tried to contest every shot he put up," said Allen. "And then we took it from there."
Snow wound up 1-for-10 for two points.
"My legs are killing me right now," Snow said. "I had to try to guard a tough matchup. All of them can put it on the deck and attack you. That made it tough on the offense."
Brendon Merritt had 14 for the Eagles, who received their first NCAA invitation by winning the Big Sky.
"I thought we battled our hearts out the first half," Eagles coach Ray Giacoletti said. "We didn't finish plays in the second half. We had some great looks. That is how we got here."
The Eagles, bidding to become just the fifth No. 15 seed to win a game since the NCAA began seeding in 1979, held a 28-26 lead with 4:59 left in the first half when Marc Axton connected on a 3-pointer.
Early in the first half, Sutton benched almost his entire first team and played reserves for several minutes.
But with Smith on the bench, Oklahoma State quickly took charge after halftime. Allen blocked Snow's jumper and fed Joey Graham, who made a 5-footer for a 40-36 lead. Then, with 15:52 left, McFarlin stole a pass and drove in for a layup and a 48-38 lead.
Josh Barnard's 3-pointer drew the Eagles to 55-48 with 8:28 left. Then Daniel Bobik connected on a 3-pointer to ignite Oklahoma State's second run of the second half. Allen had nine points in the spurt.
Eastern Washington went 3:49 without a field goal in the run. The Eagles, whose field goal percentage of .483 was No. 22 in the country, missed 11 of their first 14 shots in the second half and hit only .356 for the game.
"We just haven't played somebody with a defense that comes at you in waves," Giacoletti said.