OSU moves into fourth place with upset over No. 2 KU
Oklahoma State made a big statement by going into Lawrence, Kansas, and defeating the then-No. 2 Jayhawks 85-80 Saturday.
“We have a lot of respect for Kansas and their basketball team and this place here, it’s one of the greatest environments in college basketball against a great basketball team,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “We figured a way to score a few points and I’m really proud of our effort. I liked how we started the game – that was obviously big for us. I’m proud of our basketball team. It was a good win for our basketball team.”
Markel Brown led the Cowboys (15-5, 5-3 in the Big 12) with 28 points while Marcus Smart had 25 – with seven critical points in the final minutes.
“I came out and missed the first shot and kind of got down on myself,” said Brown. “The coaches told me to keep shooting. After I made my first shot, a three-pointer, I just kept shooting it and it kept going in. I think it took a lot of pressure off of Le’Bryan (Nash) and Marcus (Smart) and it worked out well.”
“Much respect to Kansas and their coaching staff,” said Smart. “They have a great team you know, a great tradition here. It’s a big win to come into their place and come out with a victory. It was a battle out there with two good teams going at it and much respect to them. This is just a start for us and kind of gave us momentum.”
The Jayhawks (19-2, 7-1) had an 18-game winning streak – the longest in the nation – snapped and a home streak of 33 wins came to an end.
OSU had not beaten a Top-5 team on the road since knocking off the Jayhawks on Jan. 2, 1958.
- Handed Kansas its first loss at home since losing to Texas 74-63 (1/22/11) – a span of 79 total games
- Gave KU its first regular-season Big 12 loss since losing at Missouri, 74-71 (2/4/12)
- Marked just the eighth loss in Allen Fieldhouse during head coach Bill Self’s 10 years at Kansas.
- Ended a four-game win streak against Oklahoma State and its 16-game win streak against the Cowboys in Allen Fieldhouse (Jan. 13, 1990)
- Dropped Kansas to 106-54 in the all-time series against Oklahoma State
- Made the Jayhawks 157-8 in the Bill Self era
- Moved Self to 289-54 at KU, 496-159 overall in his career and 10-8 all-time against Oklahoma State (9-5 while at KU)
“We helped them,” Self said of the Cowboys. “They were better than us, they deserved to beat us. We were awful and they were good. Markel Brown was terrific. We didn’t have an answer for him and of course Marcus Smart just beasted our little guards in the second half.
“They deserved it. They were tougher than us, they beat us to loose balls and they just kicked our (butt) on the glass in the second half. We still had a wide open three to end it and he didn’t shoot it. It is a frustrating deal. We thought they would foul, but they backed off to give him the shot and he was going to get two.
“What in the world could we be thinking? It is a frustrating deal. When your head’s not in it, usually you don’t perform well and you don’t execute. I’m disappointed because I hate to lose our home court streak, but we have been living on borrowed time the last three weeks.
“We have been getting unbelievably poor play from some individuals and we have got to do a better job teaching them. We are better than what we played today, but today the best team did win the game.”
Ford spoke to his team about determination.
“The first half they just annihilated us, the last three or four minutes of the first half,” Ford said “I think we counted eight offensive rebounds in two minutes for them in the first half. My talk at half time was ‘Let’s fight; get in there. Be aggressive, play this game like this is the beginning.’
“So many people would be hesitant, you’ve got a little bit of a lead. I told my guys ‘Go after offensive rebounds. Go to the hole. If you’ve got a fast break, take it. If they go up, try to block a shot. Let’s not be hesitant with the lead. What got you the lead is being aggressive.’ I thought that was a little bit of our mindset as well as, if you’d have told me at halftime that we’d have more offensive rebounds than them, I’d just be shocked because they were killing us. That was something else we talked about at halftime.”
“Oklahoma State hadn’t won on the road in a long time,” said Self. “They came out and got comfortable and they wanted to beat us so bad. We didn’t have the same desire to play them. Jeff (Withey) got off to a horrendous start and didn’t recover. We let them think that they could play with us and they did. We are up four with the ball, 66-62, twice and we can’t even get a shot because of poor play and soft play. That’s what is frustrating. Our guard play and our ball handling has been terrible all year and certainly today was no exception.”
“We are better than what we played today and we will get it back. With this league race, all we did was invite everybody right back into it. It’s a joke what we did today. Hopefully we can regroup. It’s not panic mode or anything like that, but I know our staff feels the same. We are just so frustrated with the toughness. Let’s just call it like it is: we are mentally tough in some ways, but physically this is our softest group of all time. We have never had a team like this.”
The win could make a big difference not only in the league race but in seeding for the NCAA Tournament.