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Oklahoma State basketball: No. 9 Kansas holds off No. 14 Cowboys in double OT

Naadir Tharpe connected on a short jumper in the lane with 16.5 seconds left in the second overtime, lifting No. 9 Kansas to a 68-67 win over No. 14 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
by John Helsley Published: February 20, 2013

photo - Oklahoma State 's Le'Bryan Nash (2) reacts after being fouled on a shot during the college basketball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Kanas Jayhawks (KU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State 's Le'Bryan Nash (2) reacts after being fouled on a shot during the college basketball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Kanas Jayhawks (KU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

STILLWATER – Missed opportunities. Missing players. Missed free throws.

All that doomed Oklahoma State Wednesday night in a 68-67 double overtime loss to Kansas before a wild sold out crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The No. 9 Jayhawks, proving they aren’t ready to abdicate their Big 12 throne just yet, got a running jumper from reserve guard Naadir Tharpe – their only field goal in either overtime – for the game-winner with 16.5 seconds remaining.

With no time outs remaining, the Cowboys hustled down court and got Markel Brown an open look, but his 18-foot jumper was off the mark, allowing KU to escape a battle befitting two of the top defensive teams in the country.

With the win, KU improved to 10-3 in the Big 12 – tied with Kansas State atop the league standings – and 22-4 overall.

No. 14 Oklahoma State, seeing its seven-game winning streak snapped, fell to 19-6 and 9-4, one game off the pace for the conference lead.

By game’s end, the Cowboys were without starts Marcus Smart and Michael Cobbins, who both fouled out in the second overtime. Smart left at the 2:24 mark, whistled for his fifth foul on a charge with the Cowboys leading 65-64.

“It was definitely difficult (to watch),” Smart said. “I felt like I left my teammates down. I wish I was out there with them to help them out and contribute in a way that I usually do. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out this time.”

Still, OSU managed to hold a lead in the final minute, when Brown drilled a jumper to send the Cowboys in front 67-66 with :47.6 showing. But Tharpe, who had made just 1 of 10 shots previously, slashed into the lane and threw in his floating shot moments later, despite solid defense from OSU’s Phil Forte.

“Tonight, he couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” KU coach Bill Self said of Tharpe, who was running the offense Elijah Johnson, who fouled out. “He has actually improved his floater shot, but the one shot he made, if I’m not mistaken, was a hard, twisting layup. We didn’t really have any offense, though. Neither team had any offense.

“He certainly made a huge play there late. Biggest play of his life, I'm sure.”

Travis Releford led the Jayhawks with 18 points, while Jeff Withey added 17 in the win.

Brown led the Cowboys with 20 points. Marcus Smart, who fouled out on a charging call in the second overtime, added 18 for Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Smart’s fadeaway 16-footer was short and off the rim.

Smart had scored six of Oklahoma State’s final eight points in regulation, helping the Cowboys overcome a 57-53 deficit at the 1:48 mark. The Jayhawks didn’t score again until the first overtime, as the team’s went to the extra period tied at 57-57.

And they were tied still after one overtime, although Smart had another final shot, this one from 75 feet, that glanced off the front of the rim.

Before Tharpe’s floater, KU’s other nine points came at the foul line in the two extra periods.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys missed five free throws in the two overtimes and finished 21-of-31 overall from the line.

“Foul shooting was probably the difference in overtime,” Ford said. “Seemed like every time I turned around they were on the foul line. And we didn’t make ours. They made theirs down the stretch. That made a big difference.”

The Cowboys beat the Jayhawks in Lawrence, 85-80, back on Feb. 2 in the highlight moment of their seven-game winning streak. Oklahoma State jumped out to a big early lead, fell behind late, then made key plays down the stretch in that one, ending KU’s 33-game home winning streak.

Defense dominated the first eight minutes of the game, with the two teams combining to shoot 7-of-27 from the floor.

With that tone set, the half played out in scuffling fashion, with both teams not reaching double digits until the 10:16 mark, when Le’Bryan Nash scored on a slashing layup to put the Cowboys up 11-10.

The teams rolled into halftime tied, 26-26, each lugging ugly offensive numbers.

The Jayhawks shot 39.3 percent (11-of-28) from the floor and 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from the foul line, with eight turnovers. Oklahoma State was at 29 percent (9-of-31) from the field, including 1-of-10 on 3-point tries.

Now the Cowboys face their first major adversity since losing at Baylor on Jan. 21, with a road trip to West Virginia next on Saturday.

“It’s about maturity,” Cobbins said. “You can’t just sit and sulk about it, but you don’t want to forget about it either. Let it be in the back of your mind to fuel you for the next game. I believe my team is mature enough to do that, so get ready for the next one.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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