No. 21 Oklahoma 69, Kansas St. 68

Saturday, February 19th 2005, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Drew Lavender was so jacked up after his improbable game-winning shot, he sprinted right past the visiting locker room at Bramlage Coliseum.

Then he had to go back to the court to make sure it counted.

It did, giving Lavender a season-high 29 points and No. 21 Oklahoma a 69-68 comeback victory over Kansas State on Saturday.

``Everybody was screaming and yelling,'' Lavender said with a laugh, ``and I just ran right by the door here. I was halfway up the hall before somebody grabbed me.''

It took a hurried video review at the scorer's table to give the Sooners (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) credit for the field goal that broke their three-game road losing streak.

The question was only whether Lavender got his desperation flip from the baseline off in time _ not whether Kevin Bookout or Taj Gray touched it as it bounced twice after time expired.

Lavender did _ with three-tenths of a second left. And the replay showed no extra touches.

``If it was touched, they'd have waved it off right away,'' Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. ``I was glad to see Kevin didn't tip it. No controversy.''

Not at that end of the court, anyway. But Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge, whose team lost its sixth straight, had an issue with the way the Sooners' winning possession started after the Wildcats' Clent Stewart stole an inbounds pass and then hit a free throw with 4.5 seconds to go for a 68-67 lead.

``I thought there was an inbound violation to begin the play,'' said Wooldridge, who did not let his players speak to the media after the game. ``We got up on the guy throwing the ball in, he got caught and stepped across the line and it wasn't called.

``I know they saw it, but apparently they didn't want to call it.''

It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because no-calls on violations are not reviewable.

Kansas State (13-10, 3-0), which blew a 16-point second-half lead, forced a 67-67 tie on Cartier Martin's basket with 31 seconds left.

Oklahoma held for the last shot, calling a timeout after a non-shooting foul on the Wildcats with 6.6 seconds left, but David Godbold threw the ball away into the backcourt. Stewart got the steal, was fouled by Godbold and made one free throw.

But the 5-foot-7 Lavender, who did not start for the second straight game, took the inbounds pass and tore down the court for the game-winner.

Terrell Everett added 16 points for Oklahoma and Gray finished with 11.

Martin had 22 points for the Wildcats, while Lance Harris added 13 and Jeremiah Massey and Fred Peete each had 12.

Kansas State led 41-28 at halftime and made it 44-28 on Martin's three-point play 11 seconds into the second half. But the Sooners responded with a 10-0 run, capped by Johnnie Gilbert's basket, to get within 44-38 with 17:11 to go.

Martin and Massey each hit two baskets in Kansas State's answering 8-2 run, but Massey had to sit down with his fourth personal with just over 15 minutes remaining.

Both were out only briefly, but the Sooners regained the momentum and outscored the Wildcats 20-4 over the next 8 minutes.

Godbold's 3-pointer with 9:20 left gave Oklahoma its first lead, 55-54. Martin answered with a basket one minute later to put Kansas State up 56-55, but Lavender responded with a basket and a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma a 60-56 lead with 6 1/2 minutes to go.

``Drew Lavender played like he's capable of playing,'' Sampson said. ``Drew understands why we get upset with him at times, because we feel like he's not achieving at the highest level. You saw today how he's capable of playing.''