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NCAA Tournament Recap (Oklahoma St-Syracuse)

Posted: Thur March 11, 1999 at 5:02 p.m. EST

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Desmond Mason and Adrian Peterson scored 47 of Oklahoma State's first 57 points and then watched as their supporting cast delivered down the stretch.

Joe Adkins drilled a huge 3-pointer with 2:25 to play and Brian Montonati delivered baskets on consecutive possessions as the ninth-seeded Cowboys knocked off Syracuse, 69-61, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in the South Region.

A jumper from the left corner by Damone Brown with just under three minutes left forced a 57-57 deadlock, the first time Syracuse had been tied since the opening tip. But Adkins, scoreless to that point, drained a long-range 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Oklahoma State the lead for good.

"When we got tied the first time Adkins stepped up, he hadn't hit a shot the whole game and makes a 3-pointer," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "When they needed to make a shot, they made it."

Montonati, who had entered moments earlier when Alex Webber fouled out, answered a jumper by Ryan Blackwell with a leaner in the lane. After Etan Thomas hit the second of two free throws to bring Syracuse within 62-60, the Orangemen put on a full-court press. But the Cowboys easily broke it, resulting in Montonati's layup that made it a four-point game with 1:05 remaining.

Syracuse was unable to score from the field in the final two minutes as Blackwell missed two outside jumpers and Brown misfired on a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left. Glendon Alexander went 3-of-4 from the line in the final 45 seconds and Mason also hit a pair of foul shots as the Cowboys (23-10) held on.

"I am sure that Glendon Alexander would have liked to hit some of his shots today," said Oklahoma State point guard Doug Gottlieb, who dished out 11 assists. "But we won the game and that is all that matters."

Mason scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half and Peterson added 21 for Oklahoma State, which is 7-0 in first-round NCAA Tournament games under coach Eddie Sutton. The Cowboys will play top-seeded Auburn in the second round Saturday.

"This was a good win against a very good Syracuse ballclub," Sutton said.

Thomas netted 21 points and Jason Hart added 17, but just four in the final 20 minutes, for the Orangemen (21-12), who were eliminated in the first round for the first time since being upset by 15th-seeded Richmond in 1991.

Oklahoma State led by as many as nine points in the first half and was up 53-45 when Mason scored with 9:46 to play. But Brown threw down dunks off consecutive alley-oop passes from Blackwell and Hart to cut the Cowboys' lead 53-49 with 7:14 left.

"He (Mason) is a very talented player and moves without the ball and gets up and down the floor well," Blackwell said. "I was pretty much assigned to him. I didn't do as good a job as I should of staying round him and putting a body on him."

After two free throws by Mason, Hart drove for a layup and Blackwell hit two from the line. Mason took a feed from Gottlieb and converted a layup, but Thomas had a layup and Brown's jumper from the corner tied it.

"I thought they did a good job of getting me the ball," said Thomas. "Like coach said, we let them get open threes. Good teams like that are perimeter oriented that really shoot the ball well. They did a good job of making the open threes."

Peterson opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers and it was quickly 6-0 Oklahoma State. Hart drained a 3-pointer, but Gottlieb hit a free throw and Mason converted a layup to push the Cowboys' lead to 9-3.

"I thought the two biggest keys of the ballgame would be how well we could defend in transition and not let them get into the fastbreak," said Sutton. "In the first half we turned the ball over three tiems and in the second half we did a good job of taking care of the basketball."

A basket by Peterson later in the half made it 23-14 and Oklahoma State had its largest lead of the contest. But the Cowboys were unable to get any points from anyone but Mason and Peterson, allowing Syracuse to hang around.

Montonati finished with 10 points while grabbing seven rebounds and no other player had more than three for Oklahoma State, which shot 46 percent (25-of-54) and connected on 8-of-18 from 3-point range. Mason had eight rebounds and Peterson seven as the Cowboys built a 36-29 advantage on the boards.

"I told them that we had to tighten it up and do a good job of defense and on the defensive boards," added Sutton. "I told them to play with poise."

Mason's jumper with 65 seconds left in the first half gave Oklahoma State a seven-point lead, but Thomas and Brown both scored in the final 38 seconds and Syracuse came with 33-30 at the break.

"Their (Syracuse) zone is big and wide so there are a lot of holes in the zone," Mason said. "We had to find them and I think we did a good job."

Baskets by Peterson and Webber in the opening moments of the second half push the lead back to 37-30, and Oklahoma State maintained the advantage until late in the game.

Blackwell accumulated 12 points, nine rebounds and six rebounds for Syracuse, which connected on 46 percent (24-of-52) of its field goals but made just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc.

"We got nothing but good looks the entire day," said Boeheim. "But we missed a lot of easy shots all year, a lot of wide-open threes all year. It was nothing new."

© 2000 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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