STILLWATER, Okla., Feb. 7, 2015 -- The Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-7) got their best win of the season on Saturday afternoon when they knocked off the Kansas Jayhawks (19-4) by the final score of 67-62. The win marks Oklahoma State's first back-to-back wins in conference play this season and more importantly strengthens their resume for the tournament.
Gallagher-Iba was rocking as the students came out and full force to make Bill Self regret some of his life choices. If you listen to some of the audio from the highlights further down this post you can hear just how loud the Cowboy faithful were tonight. One of the members of the Jayhawk staff said that he could feel the floor shaking most of the second half. Incredible day in Stillwater.
Before we can get to the fun stuff we have to tread through the mud which in today's case was the entire first half. With 15:16 left in the first half, the Pokes led 6-5; that was the only lead Oklahoma State would see until the 16:28 mark of the second half. The Jayhawks would use a 25-to-10 run to take a 30-16 lead with just over six minutes left in the half. From there, the Pokes went on a quick run to cut the lead to just six before KU would finish the half strong and head into halftime up 41-30.
The half was unbearable to watch at times as the Cowboys, once again, seemed as confused and lost as Jeff Van Gundy did when he found out that animals lived in Oklahoma. Kansas simply could not miss from three in the first half as they finished 7-of-9 from beyond the arc; the Pokes were 0-for-9 in the first twenty minutes of play. But with the bad comes the good and when it comes to the first half the good came in the form of freshman, Mitchell Solomon.
Solomon came off the bench when Cobbins and Nash both went to the bench in foul trouble and the freshman big man played the best ten minutes of his college basketball career. He almost broke Twitter at one point when he threw down a
big HUGE dunk that suddenly breathed the life back into the hallowed walls of Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Mitch gonna Mitch. https://t.co/UV4kzv6NRc— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) February 7, 2015
GET UP YOUNG MAN!
But seriously, Mitch was fantastic in the half as he almost threw a second one down when the pump faked the entire Kansas defense out of their shoes but unfortunately he couldn't finish. Solomon played great defense in the half too as he routinely found ways to slow Kansas down without picking up fouls.
Despite Solomon's efforts the Pokes still found a way to head into the break down 11 points. Now before I start this I just want to say, I'm not a huge fan of Travis Ford. He has coached his team's out of quite a few games but that simply wasn't the case today. I don't know what Ford told his team in the locker room but whatever he said worked.
The Pokes came out in the second half with their pistols firing as they full-court pressed KU consistently for the first five seven minutes of the half. In the first half I talked about the 25-to-10 KU run which was impressive. But what was even more impressive is what the Pokes did to start the second half as they forced multiple turnovers en route to a 14-to-1 run that propelled the Pokes into the driver's seat of the ball game by giving them a 44-42 lead.
But as the great Dick Vitale says "not so fast my friends!" as KU simply would not go away despite Oklahoma State building a 59-52 lead with 7:27 left in the contest. The Jayhawks simply would not quit and they used a Wayne Selden Jr. three-pointer to bring them within two with just over four minutes left. When you look at the play-by-play for the final four minutes you'll see the name "Anthony Hickey Jr" a lot which is a result of Hickey's four points and one steal as he led the Pokes down the stretch defensively.
The final minute featured sloppy basketball but I think that's what played into Oklahoma State's favor. We've talked all year how the Pokes aren't better than most Big 12 teams but their tougher and they certainly showed that down the stretch in Stillwater today.
The Cowboys sealed the deal with a Jeff Newberry rebound and outlet pass to Hickey who laid it in to give the Pokes a five point lead and their biggest win of the season: a 67-62 upset over Kansas.
Did you really think that I would forget all the incredible highlights from the second half? No way in hell.
Good afternoon. https://t.co/xjfhp74M8G— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) February 7, 2015
Hello Mr. Nash, how are you doing?
It was nice to see the Pokes actually make a three after not sinking one in the first half. Did I mention that Phil Forte is ice cold? No, he literally has the flu. Hell of a performance.
Cobbins, Allen, GIA. https://t.co/KPWIc1NIgK— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) February 7, 2015
Cobbo is a bad bad man.
This is too much fun. https://t.co/dLR8gZuDkH— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) February 7, 2015
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!
That was such a fun second half between two basketball teams who refused to give in. It sucks that this one had to end.
The Jayhawks were led by Wayne Selden Jr. who finished with 15 points on 4-of-6 from the field. Kansas
alum forward, Perry Ellis, also had a big day as he finished with a double-double as he tallied ten points and matched the total in rebounds. KU was 10-of-20 from beyond the arc but made just three in the second half.
Oklahoma State was led by Le'Bryan Nash who Bill Self said after the game that " Nash was the best player in the game" which was reflected in LB's 18 points, five rebound, 2 assists and one block performance. Starting forward, Michael Cobbins, was everything Travis Ford needed him to be as Cobbo dropped in seven points, eight rebounds and only turned it over once.
But perhaps the most impressive performance came from Phil Forte who scored 13 points, dished out two assists and stole the ball three times. That stat line isn't that impressive but when you look at the context it suddenly becomes miraculous. Before the game Travis Ford looked at one of his assistants and said that he didn't feel like Forte, who is battling the flu, would be able to play. But Phil Forte is one of the toughest players to ever put on the orange and black and he delivered when he needed to. The guard played 29 minutes in the win and played some of the best defense I've seen all season.
As the final horn sounded the historic white maple court became filled with the students of Oklahoma State who rushed the floor to celebrate the upset with their team.
The Pokes will take tomorrow to rest before they turn around and take on Baylor on Monday. The Big 12 is a gauntlet but I think today showed that the Pokes are ready to face the fire.