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Out of Baylor, Lucas leads contender

2/10/2004

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- In two years of college, John Lucas had
never played in any games that meant so much this late in the
season.

Now on a team with a legitimate chance at the Big 12 title,
Lucas has quickly caught on to Oklahoma State's winning ways.

"The sky is the limit for this team," said Lucas, a summer
transfer from league doormat Baylor. "Our motto is that once we
get a team down, we make sure they stay down."

Lucas scored 21 points, and Tony Allen added 17 to lead No. 10
Oklahoma State to an 80-60 win over No. 12 Kansas on Monday night,
handing the Jayhawks their worst loss in three years.

The Cowboys (18-2, 8-1 Big 12) won their eighth straight game to
move a half-game ahead of No. 11 Texas for the conference lead.

The rout of two-time defending Big 12 champ Kansas (15-5, 7-2)
was a huge step for a school still seeking its first league title
since winning the Big Eight in 1995.

Oklahoma State has now avenged an earlier loss to Texas Tech,
snapped Texas' 25-game home winning streak and made an emphatic
statement with its rout of the Jayhawks. Kansas hadn't lost so
badly since an 84-53 defeat to Wake Forest on Dec. 7, 2000.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self, whose team lost 64-58 to No. 2
Stanford earlier this season, believes the Cowboys are the class of
the Big 12 -- and maybe the nation.

"They are by far the best team that we have played in our
league," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I would love to see them
play Stanford. Stanford is obviously a tremendous team, but the
team that we played today is better than the team we played in
December."

Lucas was the difference in the type of game he never got to
play in until this season.

He didn't miss a shot until nearly five minutes into the second
half, went 3-for-5 from behind the 3-point line and held Kansas'
Aaron Miles to three points and forced him into six turnovers.

"We knew everything that they were going to do," Lucas said.

Wayne Simien led the Jayhawks with 26 points on 12-of-15
shooting, most of them thunderous two-handed dunks.

The sellout crowd of 13,611 at Gallagher-Iba Arena was
boisterous even before the tipoff and got only louder from there.

"The crowd was sensational," Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton said.
"Early on, they were as loud as I've ever heard them."

Self, who was a star at Oklahoma State from 1982-85 and later an
assistant for six seasons, received a standing ovation during
pregame introductions from the Cowboys' typically unrelenting
crowd.

Nothing much went well for the Jayhawks or their coach after
that.

"That's how basketball is meant to be played, the way they
played," Self said. "We dug ourselves such a hole that it
wouldn't have mattered tonight if we had played a 60 minute game."

Oklahoma State fed off the frenzied energy of the crowd while
Kansas played itself into an early hole, trailing by as many as 18
points in the game's first seven minutes.

The Cowboys hit nine of their first 10 shots, including five 3s,
to take a 27-9 lead.

Lucas hit all five shots he took in the first half, capping the
sizzling start by hitting a jumper with 3 seconds left to give
Oklahoma State a 44-26 lead at the break.

He cooled off after halftime.

Lucas nailed a 3-pointer 43 seconds into the second half, but
missed his next two shots and didn't attempt another one in the
game's final 13 minutes.

Allen and Ivan McFarlin took over from there, and the Jayhawks
couldn't find anyone other than Simien to counter Oklahoma State's
offensive effort.

Kansas never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way.

"They came out in the first half and hit some incredible
shots," Simien said. "They stayed on fire and scored on the first
two possessions when we came out in the second half and that kind
of broke our back a little bit."

McFarlin finished with 12 points, Daniel Bobik had 11 and Joey
Graham 10.

Kansas' leading scorer, Keith Langford, scored only eight points
on 2-of-10 shooting.