Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys stun No. 2 Kansas on road
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Marcus Smart and Phil Forte had finished off big games together before, clinching wins with clutch plays down the stretch.
Back in high school.
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Never anything like this.
Yet there they were Saturday, two true freshmen, carrying the Cowboys over the finish line at Allen Fieldhouse, where Oklahoma State upset No. 2-ranked Kansas 85-80 in a game with more storylines and implications than you can count.
“Much respect to Kansas and the coaching staff, they have a great team and a great tradition here,” Smart said. “That's a big win to come into their place and come out with a victory. It was a battle out there, two good teams going at it.”
For an OSU squad looking to stamp itself as a legitimately good team, confirmation came on the most unlikely of stages, as the Cowboys ended KU's 33-game home winning streak and a home dominance that featured 102 wins in 103 games, and halted their own road woes — all in one glorious afternoon, stamping their NCAA Tournament résumé with a major accomplishment.
No OSU team had won inside Allen Fieldhouse since 1989.
Recent OSU teams had been 1-21 on the Big 12 road, including a winless mark this season … until Saturday.
And this win came before another energized, if disbelieving, packed crowd at The Phog, a sellout 16,300 strong.
The Cowboys improved to 15-5 overall, 5-3 in the Big 12. KU lost for the first time in league play, dropping to 19-2 and 7-1.
“What's a better way to get a road win than against a team with a long winning streak, and that's a great team,” said Smart, who so enjoyed the conquest that he produced a roundoff-backflip soon after the final buzzer sounded. “We came out with a victory here, in a hostile environment. Not many teams can come in here and do that.
“Words cannot explain this victory. But it's just a start for us. It's a big road game that we needed to win. It gives us momentum for the rest of the season.”
Smart and Forte, the former ultrasuccessful Texas prep teammates, accounted for 15 of OSU's final 16 points, stamped by Smart's two putbacks on offensive rebounds off missed foul shots, and Forte's perfect finish at the foul line, where the Cowboys had to preserve their late lead and fend off a final KU rally.
In the end, it was a total team effort, with Markel Brown jump-starting OSU's offense and its energy, with 22 of his game-high 28 points coming in the first half. Philip Jurick and Mike Cobbins limited Jeff Withey's impact inside, combining for 16 rebounds and 10 points. Le'Bryan Nash and Kamari Murphy and Kirby Gardner played solid roles, too.