Mike Boynton picked up his first true road win in Allen Fieldhouse.
Oklahoma State did not take advantage of the Jayhawks’ perimeter play to start the contest. Instead, Jeffrey Carroll started the game by jacking up a three, missing, then allowing Kansas to score the first bucket of the game. Soon after, OSU took the game’s first lead. The Cowboys played big sending Mitchell Solomon and Cam McGriff inside. One of the OSU keys was controlling the glass, and that’s what they did. OSU paid heed to KU’s four-guard lineup. A Lindy Waters three put the Cowboys up by four, and led to a Bill Self timeout. The Cowboys have always been a team that plays tough in Allen Fieldhouse. Clark Kellogg, of CBS mentioned that OSU kept the sellout crowd relatively quiet and sitting. Oklahoma State played their best basketball for the first eight minutes of the contest.
Just as anyone would expect out of Kansas, they hung around with the Cowboys, keeping everyone on the floor honest. As the first half came to a midpoint, Kansas wanted to slow down the pace of the game. The Pokes wanted no part of that. A Cowboys steal and a corner three extended the OSU lead to five. The Cowboys loved the right corner, right in front of press row, draining three after three to keep them in a comfortable lead. Two Carroll threes from opposite corners expanded the Cowboy lead to 11. Svi Mykhailuk evaded a couple of Cowboy defenders and answered the offensive brilliance of OSU. The Cowboys; however, maintained a ten point lead, which is unheard of in Lawrence.
Brandon Averette saw action for the first time, as Kendall Smith got the start ahead of him. An Averette, missed fadeaway, led to a Yankuba Sima offensive rebound to extend the Cowboy lead even more. Fans in Allen Fieldhouse could not believe their eyes. When the Cowboys wanted to draw their focus under the basket, they played tremendously around the arc. Just when Kansas would cut the OSU lead, the Cowboys answered resoundingly. Carroll drew a foul near the paint and drained one of his free throws, keeping the Cowboys on top by four possessions. Udoka Azubuike recored ten points cutting the lead to just seven … followed by a Smith three and a finger to his lips, silencing the crowd. The Cowboys saw vintage Thomas Dziagawa, as he hit a three after coming off the bench for the first time. At the last media timeout of the half, the ESPN power index gave Oklahoma State a 70.5% chance to win in the Phog.
The Pokes played magnificent basketball for the first half. OSU was advantageous in all stats except for free throws. Take a look at some of OSU’s first half stats …
FG % … 43.2%
Three Point % … 44.4%
Rebounds … OSU 27 KU 17
Blocks … OSU 5 KU 3
Assists … OSU 8 KU 6.
OSU’s 46 first half points are the most allowed by visitors of Allen Fieldhouse. Brilliant, excellent, magnificent, are just a few of the words appropriate to describe OSU’s first half; however, Cowboy fans weren’t counting their chickens just yet, because one of OSU’s biggest struggles has been maintaining leads.
The Cowboys set the tone for the second half with a Mitchell Solomon three. Just a couple minutes later, Carroll sunk a huge three of his own, keeping the Cowboys well in front by 14. Azubuike kept on providing a spark for his Jayhawks. A slam dunk brought the quiet crowd right back into the game. A Malik Newman three-ball cut the Cowboy lead to single digits for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Things became tense for OSU, as the Jayhawks started a run, but, Azubuike, who had been playing hero for his Jayhawks, picked up his third foul.
Cam McGriff answered with a jam to let the Cowboys’ hair down and lead by nine. Carroll had a three for himself, putting OSU back on top by 12. A deep Waters three from the top of the circle, kept Kansas fans, and the Jayhawks themselves, humble. A missed McGriff corner three allowed Waters a graceful putback two. Waters led the charge for Oklahoma State in the second half. OSU’s biggest lead throughout was thirteen.
At the 8:00 media timeout, Kansas fans were back on their feet and loud as usual when their team cut the Cowboy lead to nine. Oklahoma State recorded a conference-season high 12 three-pointers, per Brad Nessler.
Azubuike showed his dominance cutting into the Cowboys lead by seven. Once again, Smith channeled his inner librarian and silenced the crowd with a fade away two. The magic of Phog Allen Fieldhouse prevented a Cam McGriff three as the shot clock expired just a fraction of a second before the ball left McGriff’s hand. The referees did something rarely seen in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Giving borderline calls to the visitors. An off ball foul gave the Cowboys the possession. A couple of offsetting turnovers later, Smith lost his balanced and called a quick timeout. Then, things started to kick into high gear.
Smith scored a quick two out of the media. Nerves were visible on both sides. Azubuike tended the goal, and his frustration was clear. McGriff picked up a career high 18 points off the goal tend. Kansas left the lane wide open for McGriff to slam another one home. A key Cowboy basket, extending their lead to seven.
Once the clock went under 3:00, Kanas went to full court pressure. Carrroll sent one through the hoop, but the officials called an offensive foul, opening a door for Kansas, a door Kansas did not capitalize on. OSU’s lineup became much smaller as Solomon fouled out with just under two minutes remaining. Smith’s fifteen foot jumper tied his career high. After the Smith bucket, the versatile KU point guard, Devonte Graham, picked up his fourth foul with Azubuike on the bench. Smith drove to the lane for a layup. After a Graham bucket, OSU led 82-77, and Bill Self burned his final timeout. Oklahoma State kept the door open for Kansas. After a couple of made free throws, the Cowboys led by just three. All-in-all, the Cowboys ended up taking care of business, with a couple of Kendall Smith free throws, pulling off an amazing feat. (See the lede of the story).
FINAL OSU 84 KU 79
UP NEXT OSU has a home game Tuesday at 7:00 vs. Baylor.
Photo via The O’Colly