No. 6 Oklahoma 58, No. 9 Oklahoma St. 53

Thursday, January 31st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ This was a little more like it for Oklahoma's defense.

The No. 6 Sooners, who gave up 92 points in a loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, put the clamps on No. 9 Oklahoma State to win 58-53 Wednesday night.

Oklahoma (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) held the Cowboys to 17 first-half points, then came up with enough plays down the stretch after Oklahoma State had rallied all the way back from a 16-point deficit.

``I thought our kids played tremendous defense,'' Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said after the Sooners' 18th straight home victory. ``We faced adversity in the second half, but we bounced back to hold on.''

He can thank Hollis Price and Aaron McGhee for that. Price had 17 points, six in the final 5:38. McGhee had 10 points and 11 rebounds _ he had four points and two big offensive rebounds in the closing minutes.

``The last few minutes of the game were intense,'' McGhee said. ``We knew every shot, every rebound, everything was just crucial. I wanted to do whatever I could to help us win this game.''

Oklahoma State (17-4, 4-4) got a career-high 14 points from junior college transfer Cheyne Gadson, who helped carry the Cowboys back from their big first-half deficit. But leading scorer Maurice Baker had just six, 10 below his average, on 2-of-11 shooting.

``I thought we were standing around too much,'' said Victor Williams, who had 12 points. ``OU's defense came out aggressive and took us out of our game.''

The Cowboys made only three field goals in the first 15 minutes in falling behind 23-11. They also committed nine of their 13 turnovers during that time. The Cowboys struggled in the halfcourt, shooting just 33 percent.

``The first half we were really stagnant,'' coach Eddie Sutton said. ``I was pleased with the way we competed in the second half. When you get down on the road like we were down against a very, very good basketball team, you can fold real easily.''

Oklahoma State trailed by 12 at halftime. Then Gadson had two 3-pointers as the Cowboys started the second half with a 17-8 run that got them within 37-34.

It was 41-35 when Oklahoma State got baskets from Baker, Gadson and Fredrik Jonzen to tie it. When Baker made two free throws at the 5:47 mark, the Cowboys led 47-46, their first lead since 4-2.

They led again at 49-48 before Daryan Selvy made a baseline jumper, Price made a free throw and McGhee grabbed his first big offensive rebound and scored to give Oklahoma a 53-49 lead.

After Williams made two free throws, Price spun away from Baker for a jumper in the lane that again pushed the lead to four.

Williams made it 55-53 with two free throws with 36 seconds remaining, then McGhee made two of his own six seconds later after grabbing another offensive board.

Gadson missed two free throws with 23.1 seconds remaining and Baker got the rebound, but he missed a 3-point try. Price then went 1-of-2 from the line for the final margin.

Sutton pointed to big some big misses by his team in the closing minutes _ among them Gadson's miss of a backdoor layup and the front of a one-and-one. He also noted that Baker and Jonzen combined to go 5-for-20 from the field.

``It's hard for us to win when your two seniors that you really depend so much on go 5-for-20,'' he said.