Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Kansas 68, OSU 67 (2 OT)

By Jake Trotter


STILLWATER, Okla. -- Thoughts from No. 9 Kansas’ thrilling 68-67, double-overtime win over No. 14 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Overview: The Jayhawks didn’t make a single field goal in either overtime. Until Naadir Tharpe swished a jumper with 18 seconds left, which proved to be the game-winning shot.

Before Tharpe’s basket, Kansas went 0-of-7 shooting with three turnovers in the overtimes but kept up with the Cowboys by getting to the free throw line.

Tharpe also struggled to shoot, missing 10 of his first 11 shots. But his last basket will be the shot Kansas -- and Oklahoma State -- fans remember.

By avenging a loss to Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse earlier this season, the Jayhawks moved into a tie with Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings. And they did it despite a miserable offensive output by leading scorer Ben McLemore. The Big 12 player of the year candidate missed his first eight shots and did not score through the first 30 minutes of the game. His first basket came on a follow-up jam with 10:08 left in the second half. McLemore entered the night averaging 16.7 points a game but finished with a season-low seven points.

Turning point: Only after Kansas fouled Marcus Smart out of the game could the Jayhawks finally close out Oklahoma State. Smart fouled out with 2:24 left in the second overtime when he was whistled for a charge on a runner in the paint.

Without Smart on the floor, the Cowboys managed just two points the rest of overtime.

Key player: Kansas center Jeff Withey is known for his defense. But the Jayhawks wouldn’t have won without his offense in overtime. Withey hit seven of eight free throws during the overtimes, which kept the Jayhawks afloat.

Key stat: Smart just could not get the ball to fall. He finished with 16 points but went just 2-of-14 shooting from the floor. The Cowboys had a chance to take the lead in the final minute of overtime, but Smart’s driving shot bounced off the glass, then rolled around and off the rim. Smart also missed the game-winning shot in regulation.

Miscellaneous: Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was back in Stillwater, sitting courtside. The former Oklahoma State quarterback spent most of pregame chatting with current Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf. Weeden and former Oklahoma State All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who was also in attendance, were recognized and received a standing ovation during a first-half timeout. ... This was Oklahoma State’s third straight overtime game at home. The Cowboys previously defeated both Baylor and Oklahoma. ... Kansas snapped the Cowboys’ seven-game winning streak. It was Oklahoma State’s longest Big 12 win streak since 2004, when the Cowboys reeled off 11 straight conference wins on their way to the Final Four.

Next game: Oklahoma State visits West Virginia on Saturday. The same day, Kansas will go for revenge against TCU in Allen Fieldhouse.