OSU basketball: Cowboys fall to No. 7 Kansas

Oklahoma State fought back in the second half, but the Jayhawks eventually pulled away for the win in a game in which Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson each logged double-doubles.
BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: February 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm •  Published: February 11, 2012

— A scent of familiarity followed the Cowboys to the halftime locker room Saturday at Kansas.

And not the one associated with Oklahoma State's losing streak at Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 1989.

No, this was the funk of OSU's 41-point pounding at Baylor back on Jan. 14, with the Cowboys down to the No. 7-ranked Jayhawks 51-24. In Waco, bad turned to worse, with the Bears piling on in an out-of-control second half that everyone associated with OSU agreed carried a foul stench.

This time, however, the Pokes produced somewhat of a cleansing, even making things interesting for a sellout crowd of 16,300 at The Phog, before falling 81-66.

A joyous rally for the Cowboys? No, not hardly.

But something had to change, and did.

“We had to turn everything around after that first half,” said OSU senior Keiton Page. “They were beating us in just about every category there was to beat us in. We weren't too happy with ourselves at halftime.

“Our intensity turned around. We started playing much harder on the defensive end and it led to us getting easier baskets on the offensive end.”

The first-half stat sheet revealed a mismatch.

KU big men Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey had their way, combining for 22 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Jayhawks outshot the Cowboys 63.3 percent to 33.3, with seven of the baskets coming on dunks, many uncontested.

KU killed the Cowboys on the boards by a margin of 16, with OSU totaling more fouls (7) than rebounds (6).

The Jayhawks also had more assists (13-3), blocked shots (4-2) and steals (5-3).

And way more points.

And energy.

Then the Cowboys flipped the switch, with a strong prompting from Travis Ford, not so much of a browbeating, as a directive.

“It was more of a challenge,” said Ford. “I said, ‘These are the facts. You got beat rebounding, you got beat… This is what we're going to do. This is the way it's going to happen.'

“I did it forcefully. There was no negativity; that was going to do no good. But I was fired up.”

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