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Cowboys Get Better Of Sooners In Bedlam Rematch
March 12, 2009
Championship Central

By Wendell Barnhouse |
Big 12 Correspondent

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the first quarterfinal of the evening session came disguised as the Bedlam Series.

That means Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. And considering that the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship is being played in the Ford Center, about equi-distant from both campuses, the rivarly was staged in a rare neutral setting.

With the stands split in orange and crimson, the seventh-seeded Cowboys provided a memorable chapter. Oklahoma State's James Anderson, who was fouled by OU's Blake Griffin on an offensive rebound, made two free throws to give the Cowboys (22-10) a 71-70 victory.

"We are just very fortunate to be a point ahead at the end, to be honest with you," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "Very fortunate, very fortunate."

Oklahoma State advances to the semifinals and might have wrapped up an NCAA Tournament bid. Second-seeded Oklahoma (27-5) might have lost a chance at earning an NCAA No. 1 seed with its early exit.

Oklahoma sophomore and Big 12 player of the year Blake Griffin again was an important story line. He had 17 points and 19 rebounds but attempted only nine shots (making six). It was his 26th double-double this season.

Thursday morning Ford and his staff changed the defensive strategy employed in the first two games. Oklahoma State defenders tried to deny Griffin the ball and rarely employed double teams.

"When I did get in front of them, they would just kind of, I guess, claw their way back around," Griffin said. "They weren't going to let me have anything."

Oklahoma took its last lead when Willie Warren found Tony Crocker in the lane with a lob pass. He scored with 15 seconds remaining.

Byron Eaton, who had 16 points to lead five Cowboys in double figures, drove through the Sooners' zone but his layup missed. Anderson and Griffin crashed into each other on the rebound. Tweet.

"I think it's physics," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "If you have a 255-pound guy and he happens to run into a guy going for the ball who is 200, 205 pounds, he is probably going to move him a little bit. But that was the call."

Eaton, who had made one of two free throws with 29.8 seconds remaining to give the Cowboys a 69-68 lead, gave some advice before Anderson shot.

"I told him to get my back," Eaton said. "I told him it was nothing big for James Anderson, just a walk in the park."

Oklahoma's Taylor Griffin fired a deep inbounds pass to his brother who had to force up a 3-pointer. It was no good and Crocker failed to put in the rebound.

Griffin wasn't happy that he didn't hear a whistle.

"Same play as before (his foul of Anderson)," Griffin said. "We were both going for the ball. I had the ball. He ran into me. Exact same play, different call."

The Cowboys, though, had to wait about four minutes to celebrate. The game clock failed to start on the Sooners' inbounds play. The officiating crew used instant replay and a stop watch to re-time the ending. The outcome was confirmed.

"To win the last one (against Oklahoma) is going to be very good for me," said Eaton, a senior. "They beat me eight or nine times but I got the last one."

Oklahoma, which has lost four of its last six, made just 3-of-19 3-pointers which negated its 39-29 rebounding edge. The Cowboys made 9-of-25 3-pointers.

"(The Cowboys) were terrific," Capel said. "They played hard. They played with a lot of passion."

Yep. That's Bedlam.

* Oklahoma State ended a five-game losing streak to Oklahoma and is now 2-0 against the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship.

* Only three times has Oklahoma has failed to win at least one game in the Big 12 Championship.

* In its two Big 12 Championship game victories, Oklahoma State has had five players in double figures each time.

* In three games against Oklahoma State, OU's Blake Griffin averaged 25.3 points and 17.3 rebounds.

* Oklahoma State freshman Keiton Page had 15 points and made four 3-pointers. Ford said he had talked with Page about his play of late. "I told him he was playing like a role player," Ford said. "We need you to play like you did in high school. Don't be afraid."

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