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FIREHORN 01-24-2005 08:13 PM

Oklahoma st at Oklahoma preveiw

(9) Oklahoma State (14-2) at (13) Oklahoma (15-2)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, College Basketball Staff Writer
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 24th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Oklahoma St. 9-0, OU 9-0. Away Record: Oklahoma St. 4-1, OU 3-0. Neutral Record: Oklahoma St. 1-1, OU 3-2. Conference Record: Oklahoma St. 4-1, OU 4-0. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 118-86.
GAME NOTES: Big 12 powers and intrastate rivals will collide in Norman tonight as the 13th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners welcome the ninth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys to town. Oklahoma State, which is 4-1 in the league standings, suffered its lone Big 12 loss last week against Texas. Fortunately, the Cowboys were able to rebound strong from that disappointment with an 82-53 thrashing of Baylor on Saturday. The Cowboys have scored at least 73 points in all of their games with the exception of the 61-point showing at Texas, and legendary head coach Eddie Sutton is loaded for another Final Four run. As for Oklahoma, Kelvin Sampson has led his squad to nine straight victories, including wins in each of the first four conference tilts. On Saturday, the Sooners recorded a 64-60 decision over the same Texas team that knocked off Oklahoma State. Oklahoma owns a 116-86 lead in the all-time series with Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys won both meetings last season.
Oklahoma State possesses one of the nation's most talented trios in John Lucas, Joey Graham and Ivan McFarlin. Graham is currently tops in scoring with 19.0 ppg on 58.3 percent shooting from the floor, and he is pulling down 7.0 rpg as well. Lucas is contributing 17.8 ppg, and he has dished out 70 assists while committing only 23 turnovers. As for McFarlin, he adds 12.0 ppg on 59.1 percent shooting and a team-high 7.1 rpg. The Cowboys are racking up 80.2 ppg on 50.7 percent efficiency and surrendering only 60.6 ppg to their opponents on 39.8 percent shooting. Graham was sensational in Saturday's romp over Baylor, as he scored 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. JamesOn Curry added 14 points off the bench, and McFarlin pitched in 10 points. Lucas struggled mightily in that tilt, as he shot only 4-of-14 overall, including 1- of-9 from behind the arc. Oklahoma State put forth a tremendous defensive effort, limiting the Bears to 30.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Oklahoma is a tremendously balanced offensive team, as there are a number of players capable of putting up solid numbers each time out. Taj Gray is tops with 14.3 ppg on 55.0 percent shooting from the field, and he is pulling down 8.2 rpg as well to go along with 34 blocks. Kevin Bookout is netting 13.5 ppg, and he has been sensational against Big 12 opposition with 19.0 ppg and 10.3 rpg. Terrell Everett is netting 12.7 ppg this season, as he has dished out 87 assists with only 43 turnovers. Lawrence McKenzie (10.8 ppg) and Drew Lavender (13.5 ppg) have also been impressive against league opponents. The Sooners are limiting their Big 12 opponents to 57.5 ppg, but limiting the Cowboys to such a low figure will be extremely difficult. In Oklahoma's recent win over Texas, Bookout finished with 18 points and 13 boards. Lawrence McKenzie added 15 points off the bench for the Sooners, who won despite shooting 37.9 percent from the field.
Although Oklahoma is on a major roll and has the advantage of playing at home, expect the Cowboys to answer the challenge with a narrow win. Lucas will be the key after struggling against Baylor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 74, Oklahoma 70

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