Reverse Layup: Wildcats Top Cowboys

Kansas State’s leading scorers combined for four points when the Wildcats opened Big 12 play against Oklahoma State on Jan. 3, as the Cowboys won by 14 points at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Nino Williams and Marcus Foster didn’t look like the same players Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., combining for 34 points as K-State led from start to finish for a 63-53 victory over the Cowboys.

OSU is now 13-6 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play (with all four conference losses being on the road), while Kansas State improves to 12-8 and 5-2.

Williams was 2-for-5 from the field and was hampered by foul trouble in OSU’s 61-47 victory over the Wildcats in early January. But the 6-foot-5 senior was a completely different player on Saturday, making his first eight shots of the game (not missing until early in the second half) en route to a 10-of-13 shooting day to lead the Wildcats with 20 points, while also contributing a game-best seven rebounds.

Foster, the sophomore guard from Wichita Falls, Texas who leads the Wildcats in scoring with nearly 14 points per game, was much more active than when the Cowboys saw him in Stillwater. He scored 14 points and added five assists in Saturday’s victory after being held scoreless (missing all four of his shots) while playing just 14 minutes in the KSU loss at Gallagher-Iba Arena. OSU allowed Kansas State to shoot 57 percent from the field, including making 12 of 16 shots (75 percent) in the second half.

“We just gave up too many layups in the second half when we were ready to make a run,” Cowboys head coach Travis Ford said. “We were making small runs, we were just giving up layups (to Kansas State), and when they shoot 75 percent that’s not going to win any game, home or away.”

Williams’ basket just 14 seconds after the opening tip and Foster’s two free throws after a technical foul on Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford were part of a 6-0 by the Wildcats to open the game, and the Cowboys played from behind the rest of the game.

Williams was 6-of-6 shooting in the first half – the rest of the Wildcats were 6 of 20 from the field – to as Kansas State took a 31-21 halftime lead. KSU opened the lead up to 14 points on back-to-back Williams baskets and two free throws by Foster early in the second half before the Cowboys went on a run.

A 7-0 run – Phil Forte’s two free throws, Michael Cobbins added a pair from the charity stripe and Forte’s three-pointer – pulled the Cowboys within 37-30. They would keep it within seven until midway through the second half when the Wildcats began pulling away.

Phil Forte (22 points) and Le’Bryan Nash (13) combined for 35 points but other than Cobbins (7 points), no other Cowboy contributed more than three points. Anthony Hickey was averaging 8.8 points but finished with three, and Jeff Newberry (5.8) only contributed one basket.

“We just not get much production out of some guys on a consistent basis,” Ford said. “In order to win in this league you can’t do it with just one or two guys. We need everybody to step up and play to their ability.

“Give Kansas State credit. We hung in there and had opportunities, we just kept giving up too many layups.”

OSU is 3-0 in Big 12 play inside Gallagher-Iba Arena this season and the Cowboys return home for home games against No. 21 Baylor (8 p.m. Tuesday) and No. 19 Oklahoma (7 p.m. Saturday).

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