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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | AT KANSAS CITY,
MO.

A Changing of the Guard Propels Oklahoma State

March 20, 2004|From Associated Press

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-seeded Big 12 champions overcame a surprising 36-36 halftime tie and rolled past pesky Eastern Washington, 75-56, in a first-round NCAA tournament game Friday at Kansas City, Mo.

"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."

Eastern Washington (17-13), making its first NCAA appearance, got 12 first-half points from Gregg Smith, a 6-foot-10, 285-pound center who had two inches and 48 pounds on Ivan McFarlin, Oklahoma State's 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 1/2 minutes after halftime.

"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."

In the second round of the East Rutherford Regional on Sunday, the Cowboys will meet No. 7-seeded Memphis.

Oklahoma State (28-3) didn't put away the slower-but-game underdogs until Tony 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 III, the Big 12 Conference player of the year, scored 15.

Memphis 59, South Carolina 43 -- Rodney Carney had six three-pointers and scored 26 points, both career highs, and added 10 rebounds to lead the seventh-seeded Tigers (22-7), who hadn't won an NCAA tournament game in nine years.

Anthony Rice added 12 points for Memphis, which had reached the third round in 1995 but was eliminated in the first round in 1996 and 2003.

Tenth-seeded South Carolina (23-11) hasn't won an NCAA tournament game in five attempts since 1973.

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