"The Shove" may have been the best thing that could have happened to OSU basketball in 2014.
It forced Travis Ford to play some extra people, and amazingly discover that there were other suitable contributors (I'm looking at you, Mason Cox).
While still jacking ill-advised 3pt shots, it does appear that it has refocused Marcus Smart. It also gave him 3 games of rest.
It completed the baptisms of Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash as "performance" leaders on the court.
Toss in a couple of "gimmies" with Tech at home and TCU on the road to end the 7 game losing streak.
Like others, if you had told me that Forte would go 0-fer from 3, the rest of the team would only hit 5 from behind the arc, and KU would out rebound the Cowboys 42-24, I would have guaranteed an easy win by the Jayhawks.
Fortunately for Travis Ford, Bill Self's squad tossed in 5-19 shooting from deep and 22 turnovers. Add to that the disparity at the FT line (OSU 27-33...KU 14-18), and another classic was born in GIA. Here are your stats for game, courtesy of ESPN:
|Joel Embiid, C||29||4-6||0-0||5-5||2||11||13||1||3||1||2||3||13|
|Perry Ellis, F||27||5-9||0-0||1-1||5||3||8||0||1||1||3||4||11|
|Andrew Wiggins, G||32||5-16||1-7||4-5||5||2||7||1||1||0||6||4||15|
|Wayne Selden, Jr., G||34||5-9||2-6||1-2||1||1||2||0||0||0||1||4||13|
|Naadir Tharpe, G||34||2-8||2-5||0-0||0||2||2||5||0||0||6||2||6|
|Jamari Traylor, F||14||1-1||0-0||1-2||0||2||2||0||1||1||2||2||3|
|Tarik Black, F||9||1-3||0-0||0-1||1||5||6||0||0||0||1||4||2|
|Conner Frankamp, G||5||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Frank Mason, G||16||0-5||0-1||2-2||1||0||1||2||1||0||1||0||2|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys|
|Kamari Murphy, C||30||3-8||0-0||2-2||0||4||4||0||0||1||1||5||8|
|Le'Bryan Nash, F||33||6-9||0-0||4-5||0||4||4||2||0||4||2||4||16|
|Marcus Smart, G||36||5-14||2-7||9-14||1||5||6||5||4||1||3||3||21|
|Markel Brown, G||38||4-7||3-5||10-10||0||2||2||4||3||2||2||3||21|
|Phil Forte, III, G||39||1-6||0-4||0-0||1||2||3||1||1||0||1||0||2|
|Leyton Hammonds, F||4||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Brian Williams, F||11||1-2||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||0||3||0||1||0||4|
|Christien Sager, F||6||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Mason Cox, F||3||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
So many things to share, but after going down 10 with a little over 10 minutes left, a steal and some Le'Bryan Nash magic started the 30-13 run...
Slow mo replay. This was fantastic, but just imagine if Mason Cox had gotten the put back dunk....
Then some ESPN SC Top Ten plays action from Smart and Brown...
And another look...
And a Nash dunk off the feed from Brown...
After several empty possessions for both teams, Smart gets things going again...
After a couple of Smart FT's and a KU 3pt play, Markel with the "butta" from 3...
After another KU bucket, Smart finds Williams for the sweet up and under lay in...
Markel hits a couple of FT's, as did KU. Then some hustle on a rebound by Forte led to this...
Smart would later hit 1 of 2 FT's. A couple more possessions ended up with a 3pt play by Wiggins on an absolute PHANTOM foul called on Smart, but who are we to complain given the FT advantage for OSU.
If you remember, Kamari Murphy hit a critical shot late in last year's win in Lawrence. This wasn't a jump shot, but it was another great late game possession by OSU and a really nice move by Murphy to avoid the block...
After a Kansas miss, and follow up miss on the offensive board, came one of the greatest late game possessions ever executed by a Travis Ford coached OSU team...
After KU makes 1 of 2 from the line, Markel finds Smart wide open as the Jayhawks pressed. Smart could have pulled up and run some clock, but no, he takes it right at Embiid. Money.
Then came what we new would come if OSU pulled off the upset...
A couple more quick vids before actually talking about the game...here's Phil Forte absolutely wearing out his Gatorade bottle during a late game timeout...
Mason Cox carrying Markel Brown after the fans rushed the court was great...
It was a great game by the Cowboys, but I will say KU played right into OSU's hands. The Jayhawks shot lots of jumpers, never really pounded the ball inside, had all the previously mentioned turnovers, many unforced, and their perimeter defense got shredded by Smart and Brown in the last 10 minutes of the game.
As Rece Davis pointed out at the end, and as I predicted in my gamethread preview, the Cowboys might have just punched their ticket to March Madness. Take out Kansas State Monday night and they are definitely dancing. As I've said before, I sure hope they do because I really don't want them needing a win in Hilton next weekend.
From a 7 game losing streak and a season in ashes to potential post season hope? If one game can do it, this one can.
Now they need to finish.