OSU opened with K-State

Oklahoma State played Kansas State Wednesday night in the first round of the tournament. (The Tulsa Beacon goes to press on Tuesday and will have that score in next week).

To win the Big Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, OSU must defeat Kansas State and then No. 1 Kansas to reach the semifinals. A win against KU would mean a game against the winner of the Texas/Baylor game to get to the championship.

OSU coach Travis Ford said winning the tournament is the only hope to advance into postseason play.

“That’s what we have to look forward to at this point,” Ford said. “We’ve put all our eggs into Kansas City. We’ve got a couple of days off here and hopefully we can recharge. We’re a banged up, fatigued, run down basketball team and we need a couple of days off to recharge heading into Kansas City. We’ve been over it with our team; we know the odds and the adversity we’ve been through, but we do have the tournament to look forward to in Kansas City.”

On January 23, OSU lost to K-State 73-89 in Manhattan. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 58-55 on February 13 in Stillwater. OSU ended the season at 12-19, 3-15 in the Big 12, while KSU was 16-15 (5-13 in the Big 12).

“We’re fighting an uphill battle and that’s the bottom line,” Ford said. “We’re putting ourselves in positions where we’re challenged offensively and challenged shooting the ball and it’s tough when you go through those long scoring droughts and we’ve got to find a way to fix that before Kansas City. We’ve played very good defense and we’re competing, but we’re just going through too many scoring droughts.”

The Cowboys are 11-0 all-time in the first round of the Big 12 Championship, and 23-17 overall in the league showdown.

Jawun Evans became the third Oklahoma State basketball player to earn Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors, the league announced on Sunday.

Evans led all Big 12 freshmen in scoring (12.9 ppg), assists (4.9 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9 a/to), field goal percentage (47.1), 3-point field goal percentage (47.5) and free throw percentage (83.3).

A three-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, Evans scored 42 points in helping OSU nearly take down No. 2 Oklahoma and led the Cowboys to an upset of No. 3 Kansas with 22 points, eight assists and six boards. In the six games before his season-ending injury, Evans was averaging 19.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game – all team highs.

Evans joined Le’Bryan Nash (2011-12) and Marcus Smart (2012-13) as Cowboys to be named Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

The Dallas native was also named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer team, as was OSU senior Jeff Newberry (as All-Big 12 Honorable Mention).

Newberry averaged 11 points per game, and his 32 steals in Big 12 play led all players conference-wide.

He is the only OSU player to start every game this season, and he posted 17 double-digit scoring games and two double-doubles.