LUBBOCK, Texas — Markel Brown kept firing Wednesday night. And making.
And yeah, Brown found himself experiencing a Kansas flashback.
“I did, I did,” said Brown, who torched Texas Tech for seven 3-pointers in the first half, matching his total against KU. “I just came out shooting lights out. And it was fun to do. I think my teammates enjoyed it. It was a great win to get.”
Maybe not a win carrying the same impact of that conquest in Lawrence, yet No. 17 Oklahoma State’s 91-67 rout of the Red Raiders in United Spirit Arena was nonetheless significant.
Because with it, the Cowboys’ surge continues, all the way to the top of the Big 12 standings.
Maintaining the league’s hottest current run with a sixth straight win, OSU moved into a first-place tie atop the conference standings. Improving to 18-5 overall, the Cowboys moved to 8-3 in the Big 12, matching Kansas and Kansas State at the top.
And all this comes just in time for Bedlam on Saturday inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Sound like fun?
“Chaos,” said Cowboys forward Michael Cobbins, who recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds against Tech.
OSU won seven conference games all of last season, when it missed the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Now the Cowboys seem assured of a tournament berth, at the minimum, with much more still left to secure in the form of a conference crown and a possible high seed.
“It’s a blessing to come out of here and be tied for first,” Brown said. “Picked third in this league (in the preseason), now we’re fighting at the top to win the Big 12.
“We’ve got OU Saturday, it’s going to be a good game. A good rivalry game. We’ll just take them one at a time and hopefully finish at the top.” Against Tech, Brown took his 3s in bunches.
He went 7-for-8 from the arc in 18 first-half minutes and 8-of-9 from the floor overall.
Did Brown catch the Red Raiders by surprise?
“Seven 3s by one guy at halftime?” Tech coach Chris Walker responded rhetorically. “I don’t think he’ll do that again the rest of his career. That’s how surprised I was to watch that.”
And Walker meant Brown no disrespect. To the contrary, he paid the Cowboys junior a major compliment, calling Brown OSU’s best player.
“He was just making shots,” Walker said. “They didn’t have a fear of us. There was no fear. And once they got it going, it was hard for them to stop. And then everybody starts joining in. It’s like playing horse. It’s one of those things whereas a coach you’re sitting there saying, ‘Let’s play zone.’ And you hope they miss.
“You hope they fall in love with the 3 — and they did — but they made them.”
Almost single-handedly, Brown sent the Cowboys to a big early lead. His fifth 3-pointer, at the 12:46 mark, put Oklahoma State up 24-6. And as Walker suggested, the scoring was contagious.
Three other Cowboys made 3s in the first half and eight OSU players scored, contributing to a 55-34 lead at intermission.
Brown was hardly needed in the second half, playing but seven more minutes, as Cowboys coach Travis Ford relied heavily on his bench. The Cowboys reached the 90-point mark for the first time this season in conference play, shooting 56.1 percent overall (32-of-57).
Once a team that stumbled regularly away from Gallagher-Iba Arena, OSU has now won three straight conference road games. And for the first time since 2005, they’re a legitimate contender for the Big 12 championship.
“It’s going to be a battle,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “We’ve got a very tough stretch coming up and it’s going to be a battle. We’re telling our guys, ‘You can just worry about the next game.’
“Obviously we’ve got a very tough one coming up, but when you’re over halfway through the league and you find yourself near the top, that's what you want to give yourself a chance.”