BOSTON (Ticker) -- Oklahoma State used a late run to avoid another first-round stumble in the NCAA Tournament.
Victor Williams scored a career-high 29 points and sixth seed Oklahoma State scored the final 10 points in a 77-63 triumph over Pennsylvania in the East Region.
The Cowboys (22-9), who lost in the first round to Kent State and Southern California the last two years, advanced to play Syracuse in the second round. The Orangemen defeated Manhattan earlier on Friday.
"Other than our inability to hit free throws (16-of-28), that was one of our best games we've played in a while," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said. "Pennsylvania is a really good basketball team, well-coached and we had such a respect for them. The final score is not indicative of how close the game was."
Pennsylvania was within 67-63 after Andrew Toole made a pair of free throws with 2:25 left. But the Cowboys dominated the rest of the way, beginning with a pair of free throws by Jason Miller that made it 69-63.
Tony Allen, who had 15 points, and Williams combined for three free throws before a dunk by Allen increased the lead to 74-63. Williams scored on a layup and a free throw by Ivan McFarlin accounted for the final margin.
"We played like it was our last game," Williams said. "We had a meeting today before we took the floor and all the seniors said, 'We can't leave this program without giving Coach Sutton a win.' I could see it in everyone's eyes. Down the stretch, we just made everything happen."
McFarlin had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Cowboys, who held a 25-15 rebounding edge.
"We approached the game like it was our last. We wanted to come out and show people that we are a great team," McFarlin said. "The last couple years we were unsuccessful to go on (in the tournament). Today, we just wanted to go out and hopefully advance." The win brought new life to the Cowboys, who lost six of their last eight games. Oklahoma State won 15 straight games earlier this season.
"It's probably one of the best games we've played in the last month," Sutton said.
Ugonna Onyekwe tied a career high with 30 points for the 11th-seeded Quakers (22-6), which had a 15-game winning streak snapped. The Quakers had not lost since a 66-48 loss to Saint Joseph's on January 25.
Onyekwe, playing his final college game, also scored 30 against Georgia Tech on November 19, 2001.
Penn made its fourth appearance at the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons, but has not advanced past the first round since 1994, when it beat Nebraska.
"I thought the Oklahoma State group played a great second half of basketball. I thought they turned the screws up defensively in the second half," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said.
"They made it difficult for us to get good looks throughout the game, but really down the stretch, I thought they did a great job. I think we tried to do a few too many things that we got a little out of character." Toole scored 14 points and was the only other Quaker to score in double figures.
Penn led by as many as five points in the first half, building a 29-24 advantage on a three-point play by Onyekwe with 4:24 left.
The Quakers never led in the second half, but pulled even on several occasions, the latest coming on a 3-pointer by David Klatsky that made it 55-55 with 8:51 left.
Oklahoma State went ahead for good at 58-55 on a 3-pointer by Allen with 8:24 left.
Penn guard Tim Begley twisted his ankle with eight minutes left and did not return.