Six days ago, Oklahoma State punished Kansas State in the paint and held off for a big win between top-15 teams in Stillwater.
On Friday night, with OSU's 74-72 win over Baylor on Thursday, the Wildcats will get a chance for immediate revenge, meeting the Cowboys in the Big 12 semifinals.
“It was a battle in Manhattan and a battle in Stillwater, so I'd expect it to be another one,” OSU center Michael Cobbins said. “But we'll be ready to go.”
Tip is scheduled for 9 p.m., less than 24 hours after the Cowboys finished off Baylor in dramatic fashion. But Le'Bryan Nash wasn't worried about a hangover effect.
“We're going to come out stronger than we did today,” Nash confidently said. “We've got keep focusing on the task at hand.”
PICKING BAYLOR UP
As Pierre Jackson's potential game-winning 3-pointer clanged off the rim, the sparkplug guard fell to the floor, knowing his senior season would likely end in the NIT rather than the NCAAs.
But as he sat there discouraged and despite 23 impressive second-half points, Jackson was pulled up, in a show of respect, by the helping hands of Oklahoma State players.
“You know, he's had a great (run) at Baylor,” OSU's Marcus Smart said. “He's done things that most players would dream and only imagine of doing. And he's had a great season.”
But the Cowboys weren't done lending a hand to their conference brethren.
In his postgame presser, coach Travis Ford made a case for the Bears (18-14 overall, with some bad losses) as an NCAA Tournament team, saying they pass the “eye test.”
“I don't know about the numbers things, but if you know basketball and you look at that team, that's a team that can win a lot of games in the NCAA Tournament,” Ford said.
Most bracket projections had Baylor on the outside looking in before this loss. So it's unlikely the Bears can sneak in after a one-and-done appearance in Kansas City.