November 20, 2007

A Golden Opportunity

If Oklahoma State is looking for a big addition to its NCAA Tournament resume, tonight is a golden opportunity to improve its stock.

After blowing a big lead and needing to claw their way past Louisiana State on Monday, the Cowboys face another tough test tonight (well, this afternoon in Hawaii) in the form of the Marquette Golden Eagles. The Maui Invitational semifinal game is slated for a 6 p.m. central (2 p.m. Hawaii) tipoff and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Marquette, a small Jesuit Catholic private school in Milwaukee, comes into the game ranked 11th nationally in the Associated Press poll and sports a 3-0 mark after defeating host school Chaminade, 74-63, in the opening round. In that game, the Eagles needed an 11-2 run in the final minutes to secure victory over the Silverswords, who had cut the score to just 55-53 with 6:46 left. Jerel McNeal scored 22 points, with eight of those coming in the late run. Lazar Haywood scored 15 and Dominic James added 11.

The Eagles will face a young OSU squad which jumped out to a 21-point lead early in the second half before almost giving up that advantage entirely. But the Pokes (2-1) were able to hold off an LSU team which hit 11 three-pointers over the course of the game. James Anderson had a breakout game in terms of national attention, scoring 25 points and getting the attention of ESPN talking head Jay Bilas.

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