Cowboys ride into Elite Eight
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Tony Allen scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Oklahoma State to a 63-51 victory over Pittsburgh in the NCAA Tournament semifinals of the East Rutherford bracket.
Joey Graham added nine points for the second-seeded Cowboys (30-3), who advanced to the "Elite Eight" and will face Saint Joseph's on Saturday.
Carl Krauser led the third-seeded Panthers (31-5) with 15 points. Jaron Brown scored 11 points for the Panthers, who lost in the regional semifinals for the third straight year.
With the Cowboys clinging to a three-point lead late in the game, Graham hit a three-pointer to spark a decisive nine-point run. Graham's three stretch the advantage to 53-47 with four minutes remaining and Janavo Weatherspoon converted a layup after a turnover just seconds later to give Oklahoma State a 55-47 lead. John Lucas scored from the lane with a short jumper to cap the run with OSU ahead, 59-47, with 1:40 to go.
Allen hit a pair of free throws with 1:17 remaining to keep the Cowboys in control, 61-49, and OSU went on to the victory.
"Allen just made a lot of tough plays, tough shots down the stretch," Krauser said. "It was a big turning point of the game and we couldn't do anything to stop him. You think you're doing well and then, bang, you get stabbed in the back and it's over. I think we were real comfortable in the first half and we just made some big mistakes in the second half."
Pitt had a two-point halftime lead, but a three-pointer by Daniel Bobik put the Cowboys in front, 31-30, less than four minutes after the break. A fastbreak layup by Allen put OSU ahead by three moments later.
The Panthers ran off six straight points to take a 36-33 lead after a steal and a layup by Brown, but Oklahoma State used a nine-point burst to go up by six.
A layup by Weatherspoon started the spurt and a three-pointer by Bobik gave the Cowboys a 38-36 edge. Ivan McFarlin's field goal capped the run midway through the second half to give OSU a 42-36 lead.
"We like to get up and down, and in the second half we got opportunities. That was the difference," said Weatherspoon.
Pitt scored the next six points and the game was again tied when Krauser's one-handed runner made it 42-42 with 7:47 left.
Graham scored six points during an 8-2 spurt that put the Cowboys out in front again, 50-44. Brown answered with a trey for Pitt to cut OSU's lead to 50-47 before the Cowboys late run sealed the win.
The first half was close throughout, as both teams struggled from the field. The Cowboys shot just 30 percent (6-of-20), while Pitt was just slightly better at 37 percent (11-of-30).
OSU owned the biggest lead of the opening half, 7-2, and led until two free throws by Krauser gave Pitt its first lead, 15-13. Lucas, though, responded with a three-pointer to restore the Cowboys' lead.
A three-pointer by Julius Page gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the half, 28-24, with under a minute to go.
Allen was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and made both free throws to pull the Cowboys within 28-26 at the break.
The Panthers grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes compared to just six by OSU.OKLAHOMAST PITT