Both Oklahoma State and Kansas struggled from the free-throw line Wednesday night, with the Cowboys making just 21 of its 31 attempts and the Jayhawks 17 of 27.
Still, KU made a living at the line in the overtime periods, with nine of its 11 points in the extra frames coming on foul shots.
The only points that didn’t come from the charity stripe? Naadir Tharpe’s game-winning bucket in the lane with 18 seconds left in double overtime.
OSU, meanwhile made just three of its eight free throws in the overtime periods.
“Foul shooting probably was the difference in overtime,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “It seemed like every time they turned around, they were on the foul line. And we didn’t make ours.”
FRESHMAN PHENOMS STRUGGLE FROM FLOOR
Buildup for both OSU-KU showdowns has largely revolved around each squad’s super freshman, as Marcus Smart and Ben McLemore are two prime candidates for the Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year Awards.
But both rookies had troubles finding their shot Wednesday night, combining to make just five of their 26 field goal attempts.
Smart finished with 16 points — 11 of them coming from the foul line — and drilled the 3-pointer from the right wing in transition that ultimately sent the game to overtime. But he fouled out with 2:25 to play in the second extra period.
McLemore finished with seven points and six rebounds.
“We tried to have somebody within a foot of him at any time, as much as possible,” Ford said. “Try not to loose him. We lost him a lot last game, I thought. Not a lot, a few times.
“The one time we lost him tonight, he made a 3. (Staying on him) was an emphasis, definitely.”
FORD: COWBOYS NEED TO REST MINDS, BODIES
Following back-to-back overtime games in a charged Gallagher-Iba Arena, OSU next travels to West Virginia for its longest road trip of the Big 12 season.
Ford admits the timing isn’t ideal, and the coming days will largely be about recovering physically and mentally.
“Last couple games, we’ve had some guys play a lot of minutes,” Ford said. “We need to get them off their feet, rest their minds, rest their bodies as much as we can before a long trip on Saturday.”
NO WORRIES ABOUT SMART’S ANKLE
Smart put a scare into the OSU crowd when he dropped to his knees late in the first half and smacked the floor in pain, then limped to the bench and stayed there for the rest of the period.
Smart returned for the second half, however, and Ford said his point guard just re-aggravated a minor ankle injury that has plagued him for much of the season.
“That’s been bothering him a little bit,” Ford said. “If he says he can play, he can play. Some of those things, you’ve got to get out there and keep it loose if it’s not bad.
“The trainer said he just tweaked it, as he has been many times. He’s tweaked it several times this year. Same one.”
WEEDEN2BLACKMON TOGETHER AGAIN
Former OSU football stars Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were both in attendance Wednesday night, with Weeden sitting courtside and Blackmon in the front row of the Cowboy student section.
The pair received a standing ovation when shown on the video board. They also chatted during a timeout in the second half, which was capped by a hug.
Weeden and Blackmon both just completed their NFL rookie seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively.
FORTE SNAPS OUT OF SLUMP AT RIGHT TIME
Cowboy freshman Phil Forte is known for his long-distance shooting, but he was cold from beyond the arc against the Jayhawks.
Forte, who had missed his first six 3-pointers, knotted the score at 63 with a trey in the left corner with 57 seconds left. That ended up being the shot that sent the game to double overtime.
Yet even when the freshman’s shot wasn’t falling, he continued to show a knack for getting the key steal in crunch time.
He snatched the ball away from Tharpe with 2:51 to play and got fouled in the open floor. He sank both free throws, which tied the game at 53.
Saturday at West Virginia, 1 p.m.
Feb. 27 at TCU, 6 p.m.
March 2 vs. Texas, 3 p.m.