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Cowboys Come Up Short In 2OT Thriller

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

If you thought Oklahoma State had played exciting basketball lately, Wednesday night took it to a different level but unfortunately for the Pokes this one didn't go their way.

No. 9 Kansas was able to outlast the No. 14 Cowboys 68-67 in a double-overtime thriller in Stillwater that wasn't decided until the final second ticked off the three-hour contest.

With just seconds remaining, Markel Brown missed a wild shot and Phil Forte couldn't handle the rebound as OSU fell for the first time in eight games. And this was a painful one to lose, as it could very well prove to be the deciding game in the Big 12 title race.

In the second overtime period, the calls certainly went against the Pokes and will leave Oklahoma State fans with a bad taste in their mouths.

In both OT periods combined, Kansas hit just one shot that wasn't from the foul line but it happened to be the game winner from Naadir Tharpe with 16.5 seconds remaining over Forte's outstretched arm.

KU scored its other nine points on free throws. Jeff Withey shot eight from the stripe in the overtimes alone.

This game was a nail biter throughout and was tied every time the buzzer hit zero until the final horn in the second OT.

The game was even at 26 at halftime, which was a small victory for the Pokes who shot just 29 percent in the opening half and were 1-for-10 from 3. But stifling defense forced KU into eight first-half turnovers and OSU held leading scorer Ben McLemore scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.

The second half was more of the same. OSU couldn't get shots to fall but stayed close thanks to lockdown defense and hard-nosed play. Marcus Smart hit his first shot of the game with 3:24 remaining that opened up his offense a bit and helped the Cowboys make a late push to force overtime.

The Cowboys almost won the game outright in the first OT when Smart missed a three-quarter court heave off the front of the rim, drawing an audible reaction from the stunned crowd.

But OSU couldn't get its third overtime win in its past five games after Michael Cobbins and Smart both fouled out .

The Cowboys were subjected to a handful of questionable calls on the defensive end but didn't do themselves any favors on offense, shooting just 2-for-5 with three turnovers and 0-for-2 from the foul line in the final stanza.

Brown led the Cowboys (19-6, 9-4 Big 12) with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting and also hauled in five rebounds. Smart battled through two injuries to score 16 points and snag seven rebounds. However, Smart shot just 2-of-14 from the floor and was 0-of-6 from 3.

Forte was the only other Cowboy in double figures with 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting and 1-of-8 from 3.

Overall, OSU shot just 32.8 percent and a woeful 19 percent (4-21) from the 3-point line. The Cowboys also failed to live up to their billing as the league's best free-throw shooting team, missing several chances in a 21-of-31 performance from the stripe.

KU (22-4, 10-3) was led by a 17-point, 14-rebound performance from Withey and Travis Releford added 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the Jayhawks. OSU played solid D on McLemore all night, who finished with just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.

OSU was outrebounded 45-37 but won the turnover battle with nine miscues while forcing KU into 16.

The Cowboys will have a chance to get back on the winning track with a relatively easy three-game stretch on the horizon. First up for the Pokes is a road contest at West Virginia on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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