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OSU's Jean-Paul Olukemi pushes back in win over Kansas State

Berry Tramel: Cowboys may have found another scoring threat in win over No. 17 Wildcats.
by Berry Tramel Modified: January 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm •  Published: January 8, 2011

STILLWATER — “Who needs John Wall? We've got Jean-Paul,” blared a fan-held sign Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Don't worry. Oklahoma State basketball's newest cult hero isn't likely to get the big head, even after leading the Cowboys to a rousing 76-62 victory over 17th-ranked Kansas State. His coach will see to that.

Travis Ford said he's careful not to over-praise Jean-Paul Olukemi. Doesn't want the sophomore swingman to get too comfortable.

“Jean-Paul has a tendency to relax,” Ford said. “You gotta push him and push him.”

Olukemi pushed back against the Wildcats, a squad he had termed “bullies” who needed to be stood up to. Olukemi posted game highs of 22 points and 11 rebounds; he started and finished runs of 8-0 and 11-0 that were part of a 22-5 spree that turned around the game.

This was a huge January game for OSU: Big 12 opener, with two road games looming. The Cowboys badly needed a victory. They got that and more — a bonanza game from Olukemi in the conference opener.

This makes six straight double-digit scoring games for Olukemi. Suddenly, the Cowboys have a third scorer to go with Marshall Moses and Keiton Page, who each scored 16 against K-State.

“Very important,” Ford termed that development. “We don't have that one guy ... that James Anderson who can take any shot.”

In a game in which the other Cowboys shot just 32.5 percent from the field, Olukemi made seven of nine shots.

The OSU offense can look bad for long stretches. With 9½ minutes left in the game, the Cowboys were shooting 34 percent from the field and trailed 49-41.

But the Cowboys rarely are passive. They attack the basket, even when it's unforgiving. Olukemi drove and drew a foul. His foul shots made it 49-43. Then Page's pump fake drew a three-shot foul; he sank them all. Then Olukemi produced a three-point play in the paint, and in less than a minute, OSU had tied the game.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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