By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma State fell 68-67 to Kansas in double OT on Wednesday night in Stillwater. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Naadir Tharpe floated in an off-balance leaner with 20 seconds left in the second overtime period. It was Kansas’ first made shot in 12 minutes. It was their first and only conversion of either overtime. And it put them up 68-67 in one of the wildest games you’ll see.
It was over when…
…Markel Brown took the ensuing inbounds, without a timeout, and looked a little bit lost without Marcus Smart on the court. OSU’s go-to clutch player had fouled out minutes earlier and the final shot reluctantly fell into Brown’s hands. And unfortunately for the Cowboys, KU had one of the nation’s best defenders, Travis Releford, guarding him. Brown missed a contested fadeaway and a mad scramble for the rebound followed. KU got it, the clock ran out and the Jayhawks had their revenge. No backflips, though.
Star of the game – Travis Releford
Jeff Withey was enormous all night (17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks), but credit Releford with the swing play in overtime and a solid game to get them there. Even before he forced Brown’s late miss, Releford drew a crucial charge on Marcus Smart, fouling out OSU’s star freshman. Releford also added a team-high 18 points on 7/10 shooting, backing up some stern talk earlier in the week with strong play.
The peripheral impact was there, like it always is, with hustle plays and bruising defense. But Smart’s shot wasn’t there, going an ice cold 2-of-14 from the field and 1-of-6 from three. It’s going to be mighty tough to beat a top-10 Kansas team with your best player shooting like that. But credit the physical and intelligent KU defense for throwing him off and chalk it up as a rare off night for Smart. He didn’t sound worried about it postgame.
Stats of note
-Oklahoma State went 3/8 from the free throw line in overtime. Markel Brown: “We make our free throws, we win the game.”
-Kansas made one shot in the final 11 minutes.
-Neither team had a lead bigger than five points at any point of the game.
-In 50 minutes of basketball, OSU and KU combined for 135 points. In 48 minutes of basketball earlier in the night, the Thunder and Rockets combined for 241 points.
OSU MVP – Michael Cobbins
Couldn’t end this post without talking about the Cowboys best player on this night. Cobbins was incredible inside, solidifying the defense and cleaning up the scraps on offense, finishing with eight points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. In Lawrence, he outplayed Jeff Withey. And on Wednesday night, he played the talented 7-footer to a draw (which is saying something). His development has been as key as any in OSU’s sudden surge.
Quote of the night
The fans were magnificent for the second straight game.
Just the start of one of the wildest games you’ll see.
KU in the driver’s seat
OSU better regroup pretty quick. Because the Cowboys have a long road trip awaiting them this weekend, as they head to Big 12 outpost West Virginia for the first time. OSU will be favored, but beware of the hangover affect.