OSU Shows Fight In Loss To Jayhawks

After one half of basketball in Lawrence, Kan., this game had all the signs of going the way of Oklahoma State's trip to Waco in January.

No. 10 Kansas had outscored OSU 30-2 in the paint and the Jayhawks had already dropped 51 on a Cowboy defense that allows just 66.4 per game to take a 27-point lead into the locker rooms.

But when the Cowboys came out of that locker room they showed just how far this team has come since that 41-point trouncing at Baylor, eventually falling short on the scoreboard 81-66 but not in effort or resolve.

The Cowboys, who trailed by 29 at one point, got as close as 12 in the second half and didn't even shoot that well to do it, actually shooting worse from the floor (32.3) in the second than they did in the first (33.3). Instead the Cowboys took their defense, full-court trap and intensity up several levels.

The Cowboys took a KU squad that shot a ridiculous 63.3 percent in the first half down to 34.4 in the second, forcing 14 Jayhawk turnovers in the process.

Sophomore guard Markel Brown was again a huge reason why, leading OSU with 21 points. Keiton Page scored 19, Brian Williams and LeBryan Nash scored 11 each, and Michael Cobbins tallied four points. If you add up those numbers, the Cowboys' ever-improving starting five accounted for all 66 of the team's points and played 188 of a possible 200 minutes.

With that much time on the floor in an early blowout, it would be easy to assume such a young team would fold in one of America's most intimidating arenas. They did the opposite. The Pokes fought through being outrebounded 50-21. They fought through being outscored in the paint 46-12. They fought through a 5-for-21 performance from 3.

When this team could have shown legitimate fatigue, it got stronger, faster and put more pressure on KU.

In a double-digit loss, they gave Oklahoma State fans plenty to cheer about.

With a three-quarter court alley-oop from Page to Brown accounting for the game's final points, this team is going to continue to leave OSU fans feeling optimistic following either victory or defeat as this season slowly fades into a longing for what this team can become next year.

This growth is part of that process and things are moving the right direction. Again, things are a lot different than they were in Waco.

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