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Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
1/17/2007 02:31:00 AM

The Best Game Yet

David Monds
David Monds and the Cowboys avoided a potentially devastating loss to Texas.
AP

I just finished reviewing Texas and Oklahoma State's three-overtime epic on my DVR and ... wow. Move over, Kansas-Florida. We have a new leader in the clubhouse for Game Of The Season, and this one is going to be difficult to top. ESPN2 was waiting, and waiting ... and waiting to jump to its previously scheduled Aussie Open coverage, but as blog favorite Rick Majerus appropriately said, "This game is so good, [Roger] Federer is probably watching it in Australia."

Mario Boggan scored 37 points and committed just one turnover in 54 minutes against Texas.
AP
It took nearly three hours of real-time (and even two hours of DVR-time) to reach the final score of Cowboys 105, Longhorns 103, just a few ticks before 11 p.m. in iced-over Stillwater, Okla. And it managed not to get sloppy, even when most of the players on the floor had been out there for more than 50 minutes. Oklahoma State's Mario Boggan delivered a tour de force, logging 54 minutes as a center (only Texas two-guard A.J. Abrams, with 55 minutes, had more), scoring 37 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. The maneuvering Boggan did to get off his final bucket was stunning; the guy is still a load at 235 pounds and he's spinning, dribbling behind his back in the open floor, and ducking under defenders to swish the game-winning 3 with 3.2 seconds left. Bravo, Mario. Bravo.

Some quick thoughts in the aftermath of a thriller that ended too late to make most of your morning newspapers:

• Boggan's 3 -- and all of his clutch buckets before that one -- will overshadow yet another absurd performance from Texas' Kevin Durant. The super-frosh matched Boggan with 37 points and at times single-handedly kept the Longhorns in the game. In case anyone hasn't been catching the highlights, in his first four Big 12 games Durant has scored 37, 34, 28 and 37 points.

• How devastating would it have been for the Cowboys had Boggan's shot not gone in? They were coming off a horrid, 30-point loss to Kansas and were in danger of starting 1-2 in the Big 12. Dropping an exhausting marathon to Texas at Gallagher-Iba could have potentially sent their season into a tailspin, with a difficult date at Texas A&M looming on Saturday.

• How may times did ESPN2's cameras cut to Durant during breaks at crucial, high-stress junctures of the game, and catch him smiling like ... well, the 18-year-old that he is? Whereas Boggan looked like he was leaving every last ounce of energy on the floor, Durant was scoring at will without appearing tired -- and laughing along with the audience about just how wild the action was. Durant and fellow frosh D.J. Augustin, who had 19 points and nine assists, have come incredibly far since I saw them at Madison Square Garden against Michigan State in November. They're already a scary-good duo, and if they buckle down in the NCAA tournament, they could take the 'Horns to the Final Four as a four or five seed.

• Favorite field-goals of the game:

1. Byron Eaton's incredible, falling-out-of-bounds, end-of-shot-clock, no-look 3-pointer from 40 feet in the second half (my only complaint being that an Oklahoma State fan's head got in the way of the TV camera at the key moment, which limits the shot's YouTube-ability).

2. Cowboy walk-on Tyler Hatch's lone bucket, in the second overtime. The gelled-up Hatch -- who can be found under the heading "Using Product" in our Style Archive -- was forced into action after two Oklahoma State starters fouled out. Texas made the decision to not even guard Hatch, and he managed to score on a feed from Boggan, plus get fouled, to put the Cowboys up two with 41.0 seconds left. Hatch missed his free throw ... but that was probably asking too much.

Great photo here of Boggan getting mobbed by Oklahoma State fans.

• Top four finishes of the year so far (that I've seen): Texas-Oklahoma State, Kansas-Florida (Brandon Rush's layup), UCLA-USC (Arron Afflalo's hanging jumper) and Tennessee-Texas (Chris Lofton's bomb). One is inclined to feel for the Longhorns, who've come out on the heartbreaking end twice. You don't need sympathy, though, when you have Durant.

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posted by Luke Winn | View comments (42) |

42 Comments:

Posted: 3:40 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
While it's true that you have to feel for Texas for losing two heartbreakers now (Ok State and Tennessee), you failed to mention that the same could have been said for Ok State had they lost -- Tennessee also beat them in a heartbreaker.
Posted: 4:34 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Best non-tournament game I've seen in a long time.

Being a Big Ten fan, I cannot understand how any NBA team could take Oden in front of Durant. The Texas freshman is the best player in the country regardless of class and is doing things that T-Mac, Jermaine O'neal, Al Harrington, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron would have done if they would have went to college. Oden is a one-dimensional player (defense) who doesn't have the offensive skillset that Durant does - hand injured or not.
Posted: 8:32 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
You do have to feel sorry for the Horns. First the impossible buzzer beater, and then Boggans 3. He dosent even shoot 3s so I dont how he got that in. I think next year though the Horns will start to turn those heart breakers into wins though. I'm loving the potetial on this team though
Posted: 8:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It was a great game and Kevin Durant is an amazing freshman. Byron Eaton's buzzer beater nearly brought the house down, as did his behind the back pass a few minutes later. This is definetely the best game of the season so far. Another great game was the OK STATE vs. PITT in Oklahoma City that went into double overtime.
Posted: 8:58 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Hey Winner - great take on the game. A couple of additional thoughts...I'm a Sconnie guy as well, and live in OKC now. The roads are still ice rinks, even in the city, and for the fans to make it to Stillwater was amazing. Two of the best environments - easy top 5 - are the Kohl Center and Gallagher-Iba, and some friends who made the game called on the way back and said it was as loud as it's ever been there. It was the best game I've seen since Gonzaga-MSU last year, and with apologies to Greg Oden, Durant is the best freshman since Chris Jackson at LSU. The dude can flat out play. But give it up to Boggan, Curry, and Byron Eaton. OSU got manhandled in Lawrence, had their manhood challenged, and resonded with toughness and grit and beat a damn, damn good Texas club.
Posted: 9:20 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Fantastic shot of Rick Barnes smiling as he congratulated the OK State players after the game. Though on the losing side, he looked like a man who knew he had just been privileged to participate in a classic.
Posted: 9:41 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
perhaps it was not mentioned becasue it was A) a hypothetical, and B) no one cares about OK State outside of Stillwater.
Posted: 10:01 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What a great game. Too bad ESPN2 butchered the end and overtimes with ridiculous camera angles. Memo to ESPN: You don't go screwing around with camera angles at the end of the game of the year.
Posted: 10:05 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What a great game!!! Mario Boggan was great but no-doubt Kevin Durant is a future NBA all-star if he puts on some muscle. He is an unbelievable talent. Taxes is going to be a threat to win it all tournament time. Oklahoma States unreliable point guard play leaves them susceptible to first round upset, depending the team they are matched up with.
Posted: 10:08 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Marcus Dove is the best defender in the nation. Before he fouled out on a few bad calls he made Kevin Durant look human.
Posted: 10:10 AM   by Anonymous Sara
I missed the game as I was at the Pitt/UConn game (also good)--but I am curious--how do you get the DVR to capture overtime? Mine always cuts the game off maddeningly at the scheduled end of the program. Do you just try and cheat by scheduling the next program also?

Sorry for the technical question..;)

And hey, at least we Pitt fans (and don't hate us for our hate-mailing members, plase--I think you are starting to judge us by our most crazy...) can say that we were beaten by a legit team when OK beat us in December...they're tough!
Posted: 10:20 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Cowboys are just awesome and always play with a lot of heart. Plus the fans love them whether they're having a good season or not. Sometimes the scoreboard lets down the fans but the cowboys never do. I couldn't be prouder of my cowboys!
Posted: 10:24 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I agree - I have been watching Texas basketball for twenty-five years and I believe that last nights game was the best! Two equally matched teams going after each other with the highest level of sportsmanship! One for the ages.
Posted: 10:25 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I watched that game last night with my brother. FANTASTIC! But are we the only two people who saw the Boggan's foot was clearly on the line on his game-winning 3-pointer? Sure, it didn't affect the outcome because OSU would have merely won by one point instead of two, but it still would be nice to see some mention, somewhere, that it should NOT have been called a 3.
Posted: 10:26 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
First of all, I am a Texas fan. Even though they lost this was probably one of the best games I've ever watched. But put that in the back seat. If Boggan has too many more games like this and Oklahoma State keeps winning, he may be a good candidate for player of the year. Never in my life have I seen shots fall like this guy's last night.
Posted: 10:41 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Oklahoma State-Pitt game was a fine beast as well. But not as exhausting --and exhilerating-- as this one.
Posted: 10:44 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sure, it was a great game, but the game between Kansas and Florida, i think was better. More talent on the floor and it had National Championship implicatioins written all over it. still, great game!!
Posted: 10:59 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Bogan was awesome. Just imagine Florida's team if he hadn't transferred from there after his freshman year.
Posted: 11:06 AM   by Anonymous Sooner 1
GREAT game! I "hate" them both since I'm a Sooner fan. However, since this is our "down" year, all I can say is "Go Jayhawks!"
Posted: 11:44 AM   by Anonymous Jason
I think this game, while hard to take as a Texas fan, turned out well for both teams. Ok State comes off a 30 point shilakin' and answers with a big win at home and keeps its Big 12 regular season title hopes alive (not that a 1-2 start is a death sentence but w/ Kansas and Texas A&M in the Big 12....). Texas, by losing, stays hungry and focused. A win would have made them 3-0 and with a frosh dominated team, I'd be willing to bet that Texas would have come out and had a huge let down in the next few games. As long as Rick Barnes can keep this team focused and hungry, this team (shooting well) can beat any team in the nation. I just hope by March, this team has that drive and hunger. If you have to take a loss, this would be the way I would choose to.
Posted: 12:08 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What a fantastic game. It makes me proud to be a Poke fan to see the Cowboys play their hearts out and win a game like that and to play with such class as well as intensity. I was a bit worried to see Coach Sutton almost pass out though but thankfully the Pokes kept battling and won it!
Posted: 12:18 PM   by Anonymous Biggamej
Durant is the best player in the country and it might not even be close. Replace the Fr with Jr on his SI player card and everybody would be raving about his player of the year award stranglehold. College Hoops fans better get used to the notion of the best player in college being a freshamn because in the next 5 years it will happen about 3 times.
Posted: 12:24 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
winning in triple OT at home against 4 freshmen and a sophomore does not bode well for OSU. They will get smoked in Austin.
Posted: 12:33 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
durant's making a pretty strong case that he, and not oden, could be the #1 pick in june. it won't happen, but still.
Posted: 12:36 PM   by Anonymous UT_Basketballfan
The game between OSU and UT is the best college basketball game i've ever seen in my life. It had star power in Durant, Curry, and not to mention Mario Boggan. As a horns fan, I give all the credit to OSU for pulling that win out but let me say this... Come tourney time I wouldn't wanna play this Texas team because they proved alot last night and as long as they have Durant, they will be a threat. I'm very proud of My LONGHORNS!!!
Posted: 12:47 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I watched most of the game and it was exciting. I thought OSU was out of it when their defense specialist didn't get ref love and was reduced to spectator. I got sick of the commentators talking about OSU having not having a bench and playing a walk-on. At this point, it doesn't matter if he is a walk-on. He has to pull his own weight.
Posted: 1:05 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
games like this grow team unity and confidence which is more important than win this early in the season for a team like texas with 8 freshman and 2 sophomores.

this texas team will be dangerous as a 4/5 seed and with durant, you never know. they lack inside presence, but durant's talent overcomes that.
Posted: 1:13 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Texas lost to osu with osu playing a freaking walk on. Texas didnt even guard hatch. So, Texas was really playing 5 on 4. Does that bode well for Texas or Osu?
Posted: 1:56 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Has anybody pointed out how much better the game was with Majerus and not Vitale? Bad camera angles aside the announcers did not ruin the game with overhype - they let the back-and-forth action speak for itself.
Posted: 2:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Boggan is now 6-37 from 3 point range. He may be one of the best players in the country, and I know he just hit a game winning 3, but he needs to stop shooting from long range.
Posted: 5:21 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
You are all wrong! This game was typical OSU basketball play hard and make big baskets and come out with a win. Look at OSU they lost three players from last years team that would of been here this year, add a star football player and play with a 8 man bench. The final five that ended the game played the final 3 OT's with out a break. What a game! No one can debate that even the fans in the northeast. OSU is in a geographical island, they have a hard time getting the big name teams to come to Stillwater but then again when you have fans that will drive on 3 inches of ice to see their Cowboys play who wants to face a team with fans that dedicated. Duke may be the only ones who have equal fans. Give lots of credit to texas they have some great players but OSU has ones that have the experiance and I think they will go deep in the tourny. GO POKES!
Posted: 5:22 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Mario Boggan is one of the best shooters that I have seen since Carmelo Anthony. I was at the Final Four when Carmelo couldn't miss a shot and what I saw on the TV was absolutely amazing. I feel like down the stretch that Texas will get more out of the loss than Okla State will get out of the win. For a Texas team that consist of four freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup to go to a place like Gallagher-Iba and put of 100 points is incredible. For Okla State to be successful they need to relie on somebody other than Curry and Boggans to contribute to the load.
Posted: 5:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This is a quote about the last shoot by Super Mario
“I’m not sure he saw the basket but he threw it up there and it went in,” Rick Barnes said. “If he goes out there tomorrow and tries it I bet he wouldn’t make one out of 10. But those shots happen.”
That shows you how stupid Barnes is. BIG TIME PLAYERS MAKE BIG TIME SHOTS!!!
Posted: 10:28 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Boggan is flat out a winner. Winners win championships....
Posted: 12:24 AM   by Blogger Dan
Last night's game between UT&OSU was a great game, but I seem to recall a 5 OT win for OSU over KU in the early 60's. OSU had a defensive specialist named James King gaurding KU's 7 footer and he shut him down for Hank Iba. James was the only player from that team of great players{ Larry Hawk,Cooper,Hassman) Iba took with him to the olympics when the US was robbed by the officials.
Posted: 11:52 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
1. This was the best game of the season, by far. The Florida/Kansas game was exciting...but Kansas had a lead at the end and really made a few bonehead plays to almost give it away.
The OSU/Texas game will be remembered for the solid plays by both teams down the stretch (not costly turnovers and mistakes).

2. Rick Majerus did a great job. It was very refreshing not hear Dick Vitale call this game.

3. Kevin Durant will be selected higher in the NBA draft than Greg Oden. He is a lot more exciting to watch. He's more athletic & talented.

4. Rick Barnes is a classy coach. It was great to see him smiling after each overtime. you could just tell that he is a true basketball fan who was enjoying the moment.

5. Yes, Oklahoma State needed the victory much more than Texas did. After that big loss to Kansas on the road...and having to play Texas A&M on the road next...OSU was in a "must-win" situation against Texas.

6. Texas is amazing! It reminds you of the Michigan Fab 5. They are capable of being a Final Four team.

7. Oklahoma State is a fun team to watch. Overtime win against Missouri State--Last second loss to Tennessee--Double Overtime win over Pittsburgh--Triple Overtime win against Texas!! Wow! This is beginning to sound like a storybook year.
Posted: 5:23 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I grew up in Stillwater and graduated from OSU watching National Championship after National Championship in wrestling at Iba but Iba-Gallagher never rocks more than when the basketball team steps on the court. My daughter is an OSU graduate and is still deaf from the noise at last years KU and OSU matchup at Iba. However, we need a point guard to break that press...we had a chance to win at end of regulation and the end of both OT's with a push up the court and time for a decent shot...we had the time but no push and no set up in three tries. UT has four freshmen!!! Are you kidding me? I see no limit for UT this year...and next year? Do we have to play them?
Posted: 5:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What a game...maybe one of the best ever. Now you can see why O-State has a hard time getting top teams to play in Stillwater. It was like to great heavy weight champs slugging it out and you were not sure who was going down. Shot after big shot..after big shot...When will this end? It finally ended with the last big shot.
Posted: 7:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I was at the game and it was an unbelievable experience. Easily the most intense college basketball game I've ever seen. Even though I'm a die-hard OSU fan, I was sorry to see anybody have to lose.
Posted: 3:51 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Never feel sorry for Texas -- arrogant fans, blind sportswriters all over the state, and a bigger budget for the athletic department than for the resto of the university. Anytime Texas loses in any sport, its a great day (unless Notre Dame loses on the same day, then its even better). And for those of you who choose to poor-mouth Stillwater have obviousy never visited 99% of the cities and towns in the Lone Star State. ther's a reason Mexico gave it away without much of a fight.
Posted: 10:02 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
luke- i think you're on something. i'm not even from oregon but i've seen two games this season that you've convieniently missed: Oregon's one point upset of then number 1 ranked UCLA, and Oregon's defeat of Arizona on the road in Tucson by a bucket. Marcus Williams 34 points in a losing effort for the cats was a feat in and of itself.
Posted: 12:43 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Shameless plug for one of the best games of the year: Tennessee at Vanderbilt. Shan Foster's buzzer beater tip-in was quite a show.
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