KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Oklahoma State’s two-year tussle with Kansas, a series stalemate before Thursday, finally tilted KU’s way at the Big 12 Basketball Tournament.
Falling in line with the previous four meetings, it was tough and tight and tense to the end.
The Cowboys pushed the perpetual Big 12 champs to the limit and then some, falling 77-70 in overtime at the Sprint Center, which as always played like a home venue for the Jayhawks.
So, there was that consolation, right?
The Cowboys wanted this matchup – crave this matchup – and struggle to stomach anything less than victory.
Even against No. 10-ranked Kansas.
Especially against No. 10-ranked Kansas.
“It’s just tough being on the other side,” said OSU senior Markel Brown, who played through leg cramps much of the second half and overtime. “Another close game. Another overtime. We’ve been playing great against them; can’t complain about that.
“But we keep falling short.”
They don’t really keep falling short. After Thursday’s loss in the tournament quarterfinals, the Cowboys fell to 1-2 against the Jayhawks this season, 2-3 against them the past two years when the cumulative score for the five games reads 372-370, with two overtime contests. And the overtimes were both losses.
Still, for the Cowboys, who fell to 21-12, it feels much worse.
This OSU team, which has leaned on a rotation of six pretty heavily the past month, could use some rest and will get it. And the Cowboys will be playing on, with an NCAA Tournament berth seemingly secure.
If the rest just didn’t come courtesy of Kansas.
“Obviously, it hurts,” Phil Forte said. “We want to be playing.”
The first half delivered a good news/bad news scenario. The stat sheet told an ugly story for the Cowboys: 31 percent shooting from the floor, including 16.7 percent on 3-pointers; 23-13 deficit on the boards; no second-chance points; and no fast-break points.
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