JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) _ Freddy Hicks' shot and free throw late spoiled Eddie Sutton's return to Arkansas Monday night as Arkansas State beat Oklahoma State 56-53.

The score was tied at 53 with about 1:30 left. Hicks made a 2-pointer and was fouled. He drained the free throw and the Indians (8-1) were able to hold off the Cowboys in a game that was a defensive battle. Oklahoma State (6-3) scored only 23 points in the second half.

Hicks said the Cowboys' physical style posed an early problem.

``During the first half, I came out and they were playing more physical than I expected. I was more ready for the challenge'' in the second half,'' Hicks said.

Oklahoma State out-rebounded Arkansas State 44-30 but the Cowboys shot only 31 percent in the second half, compared with 48 percent for the Indians. The Cowboys led 30-25 at the half.

Hicks, who had 16 blocks going into the night, added three more.

Mark Kiehne was the Indians' leading scorer with 12. Chianti Roberts led Oklahoma State with 11 points. The two were the only players to score in double-figures.

Sutton coached at Arkansas from 1974 to 1985 and led the Razorbacks to a 260-75 record.