<
>

McFarlin, Allen too much for Eagles

3/19/2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 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{ 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.