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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Jayhawks Outlast Cowboys In Overtime

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri -

The Oklahoma State-Kansas matchups have been a lot of things this season but they certainly haven't been boring.

OSU and Kansas turned in another classic on Thursday that fittingly required overtime to settle a wild season series, with the Andrew Wiggins-led Jayhawks having the final say in a 77-70 victory at the Sprint Center.

With the win, KU took the season series 2-1 by a combined score of 222-220.

Oklahoma State got off to an ugly offensive start – scoring a season-worst 23 points in the first half – but relied on a stellar defensive effort to overcome an 11-point second-half deficit to turn this into a no-holds-barred, back-and-forth shootout in K.C.

The Cowboys (21-12, 8-10 Big 12) erased their double-digit deficit, closing to within a one-score game on six occasions but couldn't quite get over the hump until an athletic Markel Brown layup gave OSU a 60-59 lead at the 4:08 mark for the first of six lead changes in the final 240 seconds of regulation.

Oklahoma State looked to have potentially gained momentum for good on a deep Brown 3-pointer at the 1:34 mark that put the Pokes up 67-65, but Wiggins, just as he seemed to do time-and-time again on Thursday, came up with the answer for the Hawks to knot things up on the ensuing possession.

OSU had a chance to go for a two-for-one opportunity from there but elected not to, milking the entirety of the shot clock before settling for an NBA-range, contested Marcus Smart 3-pointer that clanged off the iron.

It wasn't the high-quality look the Cowboys would have preferred, but Smart immediately bounced back with outstanding defense on the other end to force Wiggins into a tough miss at the end of regulation.

OSU took the lead for the final time at the 4:09 mark of overtime when a Phil Forte 3-pointer put the Pokes up 70-68 – the Cowboys wouldn't score another point.

It was at the point where the fatigue took over and the wheels came off of a gutsy performance by the Pokes, as KU scored the last nine points to win by a margin that wasn't indicative of the tautly-played contest.

Wiggins led the charge for the Jayhawks (24-8, 14-4) in unquestionably his best showing against the Pokes. Wiggins scored 30 points on 9-of-17 shooting and connected on three 3's and seemed to have the answer every time the Pokes looked poised to take the momentum and run with it.

Wiggins' performance was all-the-more important for KU with starting center and potential No. 1 pick Joel Embiid out of the lineup.

Even with Embiid sidelined, Kansas smoked OSU on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 48-30 and essentially eliminating second-chance opportunities from equation for the Pokes, proving costly in a game where OSU shot just 37.9 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from 3.

The way the Cowboys stayed close was, as previously mentioned, because of their defense, which hassled the Jayhawks into 14 turnovers (compared to OSU's five), which resulted in 12 points for the Pokes.

Le'Bryan Nash was the go-to guy for OSU with 19 points and seven rebounds and Nash went to work early and often on the blocks, clearly taking advantage of Embiid's absence from the lineup.

Forte finished with 16 points after struggling to connect in the first half and Smart finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Markel Brown, who was clearly hobbled after his awkward landing late in Wednesday's win against Tech, had 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

Oklahoma State will now await its NCAA Tournament destination on Sunday at 5 p.m.

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