STILLWATER – If he had his way, Bill Self may never return to Gallagher-Iba Arena. After watching his third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks get throttled 86-67 on Tuesday night by an Oklahoma State team that was struggling to stay above .500, the OSU alum is now 3-6 in games against his alma mater in Stillwater.
The Cowboys have defeated the Jayhawks three times in a row inside Gallagher-Iba Arena, and they have won five of the last seven games between the two teams in Stillwater.
OSU played by far its best game of the season to end a four-game losing streak, improving to 10-8 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12. KU falls to 15-3 and 4-2.
“[Oklahoma State] were so much more athletic and of course OSU played great,” Self said. “They made timely shots, I don't know how many times they scored with under 10 on the shot clock. They were great and had seven different guys make a three-pointers. It was their night, we contributed to it, but what went wrong is they were far better than us.”
Freshman Jawun Evans was sensational Tuesday night, just a week after setting the school record for most points in a game by a freshman with his 42-point performance against Oklahoma. The 6-0 point guard led all scorers with 22 points, dished out a team-best 8 assists and tied for the team lead with 6 rebounds.
But it wasn’t a one-man show for the Cowboy. In a rarity, each of the 10 Cowboys who played both scored and pulled down at least one rebound. OSU’s bench outscored the KU bench 28-19.
“I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys who so many people, not around here, had given up on and said so many bad things about,” said OSU head coach Travis Ford, whose team has now defeated the Jayhawks in Stillwater when they’ve been ranked No. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8.
“For us to come out and play the way we did tonight against what I believe is one of the best teams in the country, makes me so proud of this team. I'm so proud of their effort. I told the team before the game, ‘The only thing that matters about history is that you learn from it,’ and tonight we were a pretty good basketball team.”
The Jayhawks entered the game as the second-best three-point shooting team in the nation (44.9 percent), while the Cowboys were struggling during their four-game losing streak to find ways to score.
But seven different players made three-pointers against the Jayhawks and the Cowboys made a season-high 11 treys, and shot 52.4 percent from behind the arc (11 of 21). KU made just 6 of 22 three-pointers and several of those were in the game’s final minute when the outcome had been decided.
Jeffrey Carroll was 3-for-4 on three-pointers and finished with 11 points. Tavarius Shine (2-5), Leyton Hammonds (2-6), Tyree Griffin (1-2), Joe Burton (1-2), Evans (1-1) and Jeff Newberry (1-1) also contributed to the Cowboys long-range success rate.
“I thought they made some hard shots, if you look at the stats they shot the ball a lot better than they have been,” Self said. “I thought [Jeff] Newberry and of course [Jeff] Carroll in the first half made those two in a row, and I thought Hammonds was good. I thought everybody that played for them played very well.
“I like their team, they are athletic, they share the ball, they've got an All-American in their midst that's going to be fun to watch. I like their guys, they play hard and they seem to be getting better. I think they're a fun team to watch, unless you are on the end of a beat down like we were tonight,” Self added.
The Cowboys have a few days to enjoy the victory before returning to the practice court Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Kansas State.
“Our guys need to enjoy this in the right manner tonight,” Ford said. “I told them that they need to enjoy this, but be very humble and proud. That's total respect for Kansas. They were ranked No. 3 and have been No. 1 in the past. I'm just so proud of the effort tonight. Very proud.”