STILLWATER — Keiton Page, on his night, Senior Night, put the magic in motion early with two quick 3-pointers.
Page's first long ball tied him with Randy Rutherford for the most 3-pointers in Oklahoma State history; the second secured the record and an 8-4 Cowboys lead over No. 4 Kansas.
And a big crowd in Gallagher-Iba Arena was clearly wishing and wanting and willing it to continue.
Then the Jayhawks dismissed any bubbling belief in fairy tales, charging ahead soon enough and leading the final 34-plus minutes – often by double digits – before winning 70-58 on Monday.
Still, somehow, it remained Page's night.
KU had a hard time dismissing Cowboy hopes, mainly because it never foiled Page's feel-good home finale, with OSU's favorite Pawnee product going for a game-high 29 points and firing in seven 3s, even trending on Twitter at one point. Not that he'd know, since he hasn't joined in on the Twitter craze just yet.
“He's great,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self. “I don't think we did an unbelievable job defending him, but I didn't think it was awful.
“The career he's strung together is pretty good. What is he, in the top seven in scoring? And he's all-time leader in minutes? And all-time leader in 3s? That's unbelievable. What a career. And he was fabulous tonight.”
As good as Page was – he made 10 of 19 shots from the floor and 7 of 14 from long range – the Cowboys didn't get enough from everybody else. Aside from Brian Williams, who finished strong to score 20, only two other Pokes even managed to score. Markel Brown scuffled to manage seven points on 2-of-9 shooting and Cezar Guerrero contributed two points off the bench.
The rest of the Cowboys: nada.
Michael Cobbins missed all five shot attempts, and Philip Jurick, Marek Soucek and Christien Sager didn't get one off.
“In this league period, but even more when you're playing against a top team in the country, you've got to bring your A game,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “Especially our team, everybody's got to contribute. It wasn't the best night for some of our guys.
“But that happens. It wasn't because they didn't play hard, they wanted it so bad. Maybe too much, as far as wanting to play hard for Keiton.”
Ford said that might have gone double for Brown, who never got in a flow and seemed to force things too often.
“He wanted it bad,” Ford said of Brown. “He's Keiton's roommate. They're as close as you can get. That's Mutt and Jeff. They're tight, almost like brothers.
“I think Markel was probably pressing a little bit tonight. I think he was pressing so bad. He was wanting it. You could see it in his eyes during timeouts. Just wasn't his night.”
The Cowboys trailed 30-22 at the half and never got closer than seven after that, although Page and Williams did their best to keep it interesting, combining for seven 3s over the final 20 minutes.
Trouble was, the Jayhawks always had an answer, either from Thomas Robinson or Tyshawn Taylor, who scored 16 of his 27 points in the second half.
“Kansas pulled away by about 10, and we'd make a play and they'd come right back and make a play,” Williams said. “We hit a 3, they hit a 3. We never closed that gap to make it a game.”
Eventually, the game turned into a tribute to Page, who dreamed of playing for the Cowboys as a schoolboy at Pawnee High and leaves as a fan favorite. “It's been a fun four years,” Page said. “It's been the fastest four years, but it's been the best four years of my life.”
Ford made the move to get Page out of the game with :37.6 showing on the clock, rewarding OSU's lone senior with a rousing ovation that extended to KU's Taylor, who walked over and slapped Page on the backside.
“He tough, man. He tough,” Taylor said. “They run a lot of plays for him and pretty much their whole offense goes through him. You've got to be in tune and locked in on him at all times. And he can shoot the rock. If he gets any daylight, he's putting up. And usually it's good. He's a tough guard. I've been playing against him for four years, he's tough.
“When everybody gave him the standing ovation, I clapped it up for him, because he deserves it. Well deserved tonight. It was his Senior Night, and he came out and played well. I'm happy for him.”