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OSU, UCLA ARE FINAL FOUR'S VERSION OF TORTOISE AND HARE

They are like the tortoise and the hare, Oklahoma State plodding its way up and down the court, UCLA making the same trip in overdrive.

Much of Saturday's NCAA tournament semifinal between the Cowboys and the Bruins depends on which team succeeds in dictating the tempo of the game. Slow and steady Oklahoma State would prefer a half-court defensive duel. Fleet UCLA wants a footrace."We like to run," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said Friday. "But if someone runs better than we do, we hope we can adjust and make them play our style of game."

That means a disciplined, half-court defense and forcing the opponent to work hard for every shot. It worked wonders in the East regional against Wake Forest and Massachusetts, and now Sutton will try to apply it to UCLA's racehorse attack.

UCLA coach Jim Harrick thinks Oklahoma State's deliberate style is overstated.

"They were the third leading point-scoring team in the Big Eight Conference, so they don't play real slow," he said. "They play medium. I think to be a good basketball team you've have got to play fast, you've got to play medium, you've got to play all styles. A good team plays all styles."

The Oklahoma State-UCLA matchup is loaded with heavy-duty offensive players. The Cowboys emphasize the inside-outside game of Bryant "Big Country" Reeves, who shattered a backboard during Friday's practice, and the 3-point shooting of Randy Rutherford. Ed O'Bannon is the centerpiece of UCLA's attack.

But if this game boils down to a test of tempo, the burden will be on the point guards, Andre Owens of Oklahoma State and Tyus Edney of UCLA. That could be a fascinating chess game.

Owens offered a scouting report on Edney.

"He has great quickness and he can handle the ball," he said. "He makes a lot of things happen for UCLA . . . creating off the dribble, pushing the ball up the court when it's time to push it."

And Edney made it sound like he was ready to do exactly that to force the game into UCLA's style. "I think we can do that by just trying to pressure them defensively," he said. "Full court press them a little bit. Just basically try to get the game moving as much as possible. Tempo up as much as possible."

It was Edney's baseline to basket dash in the final 4.8 seconds that saved UCLA against Missouri. And, although Owens hasn't had that kind of spectacular individual moment in the tournament, he has played steady basketball at the point for Oklahoma State.

"Andre Owens has come a long ways as a basketball player," Sutton said. "He's much more under control. He makes better decisions with the ball than he did in the early seasons. He's become a good defender."