Saturday against Kansas State, Page didn’t go so hot.
With Page scuffling with his shot, making but 4-of-17 shots from the floor, the offense ran ragged around him, leaving the Cowboys with a 66-58 loss before an estimated 9,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Page finished with a game-high 17 points, but much of it came at the foul line, where he went 8-for-9, and a final basket came at the buzzer. He was 1-for-9 on 3-point attempts, getting OSU’s lone make from beyond the arc with 2:00 remaining.
Those were hardly the Cowboys only ugly numbers. OSU made just 1-of-16 its 3-point tries and was out-rebounded 50-29, surrendering 22 offensive boards leading to 18 second-chance points.
Still, the Cowboys trailed just 59-56 when Page connected on his only 3, thanks to K-State’s own second-half shooting struggles and an overall 23-of-40 effort from the foul line.
In the end, however, OSU didn’t have enough, particularly from Page, who continues to be called on to shoulder a hefty load.
“It’s huge,” said Wildcats coach Frank Martin. “You play Oklahoma State, you let him get going… You saw what happened at the end of the game there. All of a sudden, the place goes nuts, the whole team has a tremendous energy.
“You have to take away people’s strength. And that’s their strength.”
And right now, Page is OSU’s only reliable strength.
Asking so much from Page, at 5-foot-8, on a regular basis is probably unfair. But with a young team that features newcomers and freshmen almost exclusively as his wing men, that’s just where the Cowboys stand.
And opponents know it.
Few have slowed him like the Wildcats did Saturday, when Page was left exhausted after a physical afternoon.