STILLWATER, OKLA. Nobody accused Sean Sutton of being a great shooter when he played point guard for his dad at Kentucky. Sutton averaged only 5.7 points a game for the Wildcats two years ago.
Now Eddie Sutton is coaching at Oklahoma State and once again Sean is his point guard. But now young Sutton is averaging 10.5 points a game, third best on the team.
Why the improvement? Sean, who didn't play last season while attending a junior college, credits his father.
"Because my dad wasn't coaching last year," young Sutton explained, "we spent about three or four times a week in a gym and worked on my outside shot."
STATISTICS DON'T lie. Sean Sutton has made 22 of 38 three-point attempts for a glossy 57.9 average. No other Big Eight player is shooting better than 49 percent from beyond the arc. KU three-point specialist Terry Brown is shooting 48.6 percent.
A rejuvenated Sutton gives the Cowboys an extra weapon tonight against Kansas.
Tipoff is 7:35 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be telecast live in the Lawrence area on channels 13 and 62.
Eddie Sutton, who resigned at Kentucky amid allegations of NCAA improprities, inherited a bevy of talent Byron Houston, Darwyn Alexander et al. when Leonard Hamilton pulled up stakes for Miami.
Sutton has taken that talent, inserted his son at point guard, and fashioned a 10-3 record to date. The Cowboys opened some eyes when they went into Columbia last week and forced Missouri into overtime before bowing, 80-79.
Sutton, 54, is a native of Bucklin it's in the southwest part of Kansas but he played basketball at Oklahoma State under the legendary Hank Iba in the mid-50s.
"I'VE ALWAYS had a dream that I would be able to come back to Oklahoma State," Sutton said. "The first eight months have been a real honeymoon."
The honeymoon won't end if Okie State loses tonight, but it would be Sutton's first home defeat since coming here. Kansas has had the Cowboys' number in Gallagher-Iba Arena, winning six straight. Furthermore, the Jayhawks have won 15 of the last 16 meetings between the two schools.
Of Kansas, Sutton said: "They do so many things to keep you off balance. They're kind of like a junker in baseball."
Kansas won last year's game here, 83-76, rallying from a 52-47 halftime deficit, thanks mainly to Kevin Pritchard's 18 points and Mark Randall's 14 rebounds.
CURIOUSLY, THE Jayhawks' next game is against Hamilton's Miami team. It's scheduled for 7:07 p.m. on Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse.
KU's next conference game is a week from today against Missouri. Tipoff is 3:10 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have two more home games after that against Wichita State on Jan. 23 and Colorado on Jan. 26.
F Alonzo Jamison (6-6)
F Mike Maddox (6-7)
C Mark Randall (6-9)
G Terry Brown (6-2)
G Adonis Jordan (5-11) OKLAHOMA STATE (10-3)
F John Potter (6-8)
F Johnny Pittman (7-0)
C Byron Houston (6-7)
G Darwyn Alexander (6-0)
G Sean Sutton (6-1)
Tipoff: 7:35 p.m. tonight, Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla.
Live telecast: Channels 13 and 62.