Dec. 22, 2005
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Freshman Byron Eaton and the Oklahoma State Cowboys silenced No. 23 Tennessee and handed the Volunteers their first loss of the season.
Eaton scored a career-high 16 points and spurred a late run as Oklahoma State held off several second-half charges for an 89-73 victory Thursday night.
The Volunteers (6-1) had moved into The Associated Press' poll for the first time since Feb. 19, 2001, after beating then-No. 6 Texas 95-78 last week.
``We was in the same hotel as them and they was talking noise,'' Eaton said. ``At the dinner last night, they was talking. They was doing a lot of talking. We had to come out here and take care of business.''
Eaton had 10 points, including three driving layups, as the Cowboys (8-3) closed the game with a 22-7 run after Tennessee rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to get within one.
Stanley Asumnu's 3-pointer from the right side capped a 16-8 run and pulled the Volunteers within 67-66 before Eaton took over.
Eaton drove the lane for a layup, and JamesOn Curry added a 3-pointer to give the Cowboys some breathing room before Chris Lofton hit his third 3-pointer of the second half for Tennessee. But that was the Volunteers' last field goal for 6 minutes.
Lofton scored 19 points in the second half and finished with 21 to lead Tennessee, while C.J. Watson added 12 and Andre Patterson 10.
``Lofton got hot, but we just didn't get enough inside,'' Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said.
Curry had 16 points, David Monds added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Mario Boggan scored 14 points for Oklahoma State, which picked up its first win in three games against ranked teams this season.
The Cowboys had led Boston College by 13 points and Gonzaga by 12 in the second half, but allowed late runs to lose both games.
Eaton ensured that wouldn't happen this time.
``We'd been up by double digits and let some other teams beat us,'' Eaton said. ``We can't do it no more. Never again.''
He followed Lofton's 3-pointer with two free throws and responded to a shirt-grabbing meeting with head coach-designate Sean Sutton with a steal and a layup that stretched Oklahoma State's lead to 81-71.
Boggan added two free throws and Curry hit a jumper and two free throws as Oklahoma State continued to pull away.
After Dane Bradshaw broke Tennessee's drought with a tip-in with 44 seconds left, Eaton finished the game with a two-handed jam on an alley-oop pass from Curry. It was Eaton's first college dunk.
``When you've got a fast break like that at the end of the game for a team that hurt one of our players and been talking noise, you've got to finish the game with a bang. That's what I tried to do,'' Eaton said.
``When I was coming back in the tunnel, Coach told me I should have dribbled the ball out.''
Eaton's teammates mobbed him at midcourt after the game, and Curry put him in a headlock and slapped him on the head three times.
``It was like a birthday gift to me,'' said Eaton, whose birthday is Saturday.
Eaton said the Cowboys got even more fired up when a Tennessee player appeared to shrug off Marcus Dove's hard fall to the court at the end of the first half.
Dove leaped to intercept a pass and the back of his head hit the floor as he came back down. He stayed on the floor for a few moments before sitting up, then jogged to the locker room. He remained in the locker room after the rest of the team returned, but walked back to courtside 1:30 into second half.
He did not play after halftime.
``I don't think it was intentional, but the way he just turned and walked off, that didn't make any sense to me,'' Eaton said.