Oklahoma State battled on the road and even led 66-60 in the closing minutes at Iowa State.
But after containing Iowa State's perimeter shooters for much of the night, the Cyclones' final four baskets were 3-pointers, including a banked-in shot at the buzzer by Scott Christopherson that lifted ISU to a 71-68 win.
The Cyclones, the Big 12's top 3-point shooting team, went 3-of-11 from long range in the first half, before making 7-of-16 after intermission.
“We just gave up too many 3s in the second half,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “That was the Achilles heel for us. We did a great job guarding the 3 in the first half. Our goal was to not give up more than five.”
Still, Ford said there was much to like in the loss, especially after OSU absorbed a 106-65 beating at Baylor on Saturday.
“Everybody was wondering this week how this team would respond after (Saturday),” Ford said. “I thought they played extremely hard, executed extremely well, probably as well as we've executed all year.
“Our guys showed a lot of resilience. We really fought back from a tough game last game.”
BROWN STARTS, STARS
Since suffering a hip injury against Virginia Tech on New Year's Eve, Markel Brown hadn't appeared in Oklahoma State's starting lineup.
Brown was back in the opening five Wednesday night against Iowa State, and in a different role for much of the game, essentially taking a turn at the point. The result: 11 assists, nine points and six rebounds.
Brown's one regret was a big one — his only turnover with 4.8 seconds left, setting up the Cyclones' game-winning shot — but his overall performance offers optimism for a team struggling to create offense.
The 11 assists were a season-high, as were OSU's 21 team assists, the most in a Big 12 road game in Travis Ford's four seasons with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys return home Saturday to face No. 25 Kansas State in a 12:30 p.m. tip at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
K-State improved to 13-4 overall, 2-3 in the Big 12 with an 84-80 win over Texas in Manhattan.
Freshman Christien Sager, a walk-on awarded a one-year scholarship that became available, made his Cowboys debut in the first half against Iowa State.
The Wichita Falls Rider High (Texas) product had offers from several smaller schools but chose instead to walk on at OSU. Sager averaged 19 points as a senior at Rider and has drawn positive reviews from the Cowboys coaches.
* The Cowboys' Big 12 road losing streak was extended to 13 games with Wednesday's loss.
* OSU has played 18 games, with Wednesday night's starting five – Brown, Keiton Page, Le'Bryan Nash, Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins – representing the 11th different starting lineup.
* Nash, after a slow first half, scored 17 of his 21 points after intermission, matching his career high.
* Tyrus McGee, an Iowa State junior college transfer who played high school ball at Stringtown, scored 17 points off the bench for the Cyclones. McGee hit five 3-pointers and also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.