Denied in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. – A chance to claim the Big 12 title outright was denied Saturday as the University of Kansas men's basketball team dropped its first conference game of the season, 85-77, to Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

After trailing by a season-high 19 points in the first half, Kansas was able to cut the lead to six but could not overcome the Cowboys in front of a hostile crowd.
 
Kansas fell to 27-2 overall and 13-1 in the Big 12.  Oklahoma State improved to 20-8 overall and 8-6 in the league as it picked up a win that may have been what it needed to solidify an NCAA tournament berth.
 
In the early going, both teams found it difficult to hold onto the ball with both KU and OSU turning it over three times in the first three and a half minutes. With neither team really asserting itself, the contest was tied at nine at the first TV timeout.

After the break Kansas continued to struggle to find an offensive rhythm, often settling for outside shots. Behind the urging of a rowdy but under-capacity crowd, Oklahoma State started to get hot – particularly from the three-point line.  Back-to-back three pointers from James Anderson and Keiton Page gave OSU a six-point 15-9 lead and forced Kansas coach Bill Self to call for a timeout with 13:35 on the first half clock.
 
The timeout did little to upset the Cowboys' confidence as Oklahoma State extended its lead to 23-11 by the 10:47 mark – Kansas' biggest deficit of any game in the entire season.
 
Things unfortunately did not get better for the remainder of the half. Oklahoma State continued to hit open threes – six overall in the first 20 minutes – and at one point enjoyed a lead of 19 points.  At halftime, OSU led 45-29.
 
At the half, Kansas was shooting 39.3 percent from the field compared to 61.3 percent for Oklahoma State. OSU hit six threes while KU made two. On the glass, the Cowboys led 20-15. Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins led KU with eight and seven points, respectively. James Anderson led all scorers with 15 points for Oklahoma State.
 
Kansas came out in the second half and did not allow the Cowboys to extend their lead but was unable start to significantly chip into the lead until it was too late.
 
With 4:37 left, Xavier Henry hit a jumper to cut the margin to 12 at 72-60.  OSU answered with a bucket but then Collins hit a three and the Cowboy lead was 11.
 
Kansas then cut the deficit to single digits when Collins converted on a breakaway after Markieff Morris created a turnover and pitched ahead. The bucket made it 76-67 in favor of OSU and the many KU fans in attendance were hopeful.
 
Moments later Kansas cut the lead even further when Henry hit a trey and the score was 80-74 with just over a minute left.
 
Unfortunately, the damage was already done as KU came no closer and dropped its first conference game of the season 85-77 as the Cowboy faithful stormed the court.
 
Collins finished with 22 points, including four three pointers, to lead Kansas. Henry finished with 17 points. Aldrich had 11 points and a team-high five boards. Marcus Morris rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.
 
Anderson led all scorers with 27 points, just one shy of a KU opponent single game high. Three other Cowboys scored more than 15 points including Matt Pilgrim (18), Obi Muonelo (17) and Page (15).
 
Oklahoma State scorched the nets for 60.4 percent shooting (32-of-53) while Kansas shot just 46.6 percent (27-of-58). OSU led on the boards 36-26.
 
Kansas will get its second chance to win the Big 12 outright when it returns home for Senior Night to host Kansas State Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in a game televised on the Big 12 Network.  KU, which will honor senior Sherron Collins, has won 26-straight final home games, including 25-straight senior nights.  The regular season ends Saturday, March 6 at 1 p.m. in a game against Border Rival Missouri on CBS.

Box Score

Story courtesy:  KUAC

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