AUSTIN, Texas — The defining sequence from Oklahoma State's Wednesday win over Baylor — Michael Cobbins' block and Markel Brown's daring coast-to-coast layup — remains etched as the snapshot moment of that game.
Moving forward, might it maintain staying power, perhaps providing the reflective signature moment in a special season?
Already, the streaking Cowboys are back in the Big 12 title chase. And they're positioned for the long haul, with a favorable closing league schedule and a team suddenly revealing late-game toughness. Wednesday's thrilling finish was OSU's third straight final-possession verdict.
All wins, too, part of a four-game Big 12 winning streak that stands as the program's longest in conference play since Travis Ford's first year.
Now, there are assumptions involved in painting the Cowboys as a contender, even a favorite for the league championship. There's need to believe that last weekend's conquest at Kansas represents a breakthrough for a team previously considered incapable on the road. And there's required reading of this team's development, a sense that a young nucleus is growing before our eyes.
Both assumptions get put to the test Saturday, when OSU visits struggling Texas for a 12:45 p.m. tip.
The No. 22-ranked Cowboys haven't won at the Erwin Center since 2004 and have dropped 11 of the last 13 in the series. But then, before the Pokes knocked off the Jayhawks last week, they hadn't pulled out of Lawrence with a win since 1989, or pre-Eddie Sutton.
“That was a great way to break it,” OSU guard Markel Brown said of his team's overall road losing scuffles. “Now it's time to keep it rolling.
“We've got a lot more road games to go. I think we'll get some more victories on the road. Beating Kansas, at Kansas, it built a lot of confidence for this team.”
And these last three wins, all against NCAA Tournament-caliber clubs — Iowa State, KU and Baylor — may have built some crunchtime character.
“We've been through a lot of adversity this year,” said point guard Marcus Smart. “That's all coming into play right now. It's late in the season, this is when teams start to rise and come out and play their best ball. We've made some great plays at tough moments. The team that wants it more comes out with a win.”
“That adversity that we experienced early in the season has helped us here late in the season.”
The schedule should help, too.
Currently, the Cowboys sit one game behind Kansas and Kansas State in the Big 12 standings. Both the Jayhawks and Wildcats must visit Gallagher-Iba Arena, while OSU has already been to their places. KU and K-State still have one game against each other, as well, meaning one is guaranteed at least one more loss.
Overall, the Cowboys make but one more trip to face one of the league's top six: at Iowa State. And they still hold prime road opportunities against the conference's bottom four, with road trips remaining to Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia.
The hottest team in the Big 12, OSU's rotation continues to evolve. Forward Michael Cobbins, after missing a month with a broken toe, is emerging as a major contributor. Brian Williams, who has appeared in just two games following preseason wrist surgery, shows continued signs of improvement. And Kamari Murphy seems to have shaken off a midseason funk, after playing so well early as Cobbins' replacement.
Le'Bryan Nash seems more comfortable and content in his role, unburdened by previous demands to be a star. And unlike recent years, these Cowboys are less reliant on certain players to score, with Brown, Smart, Nash, Cobbins and Phil Forte all viable options on the offensive end.
Among all those players listed, Brown is the elder statesman, as a junior.
“I think people forget about how young this team is,” said Fran Fraschilla, a former coach and ESPN analyst. “When I think about how young they are and what they've accomplished so far, they're not going to get worse by March, but they can get a whole lot better by March.
“I really do like this team.”
There's more to like of late, too, punctuated by Brown's length-of-the-floor dash, a moment good enough for SportsCenter's Top 10 plays and maybe even a future signature snapshot.
“We've figured out some crazy ways to win some games here lately,” Ford said. “It's a hard living, I tell you. But we'll take it.”