I would doubt that the man that coached both head coaches in Saturday night's Bedlam game – Jack Hartman at Kansas State coached the Cowboys head coach Brad Underwood and Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger – would have relished the way the second edition of Bedlam was played. I would doubt that the man that coached Hartman – Henry Iba coached Hartman at Oklahoma A&M and has his name on the building – would have been thrilled with the absence of defense most of the night.
Eddie Sutton's name is on the court and he was there tonight, so even if he didn't enjoy it he heard the 13,000-plus on hand enjoyed it immensely. They certainly enjoyed the final outcome, a 96-92 Oklahoma State win and the first Bedlam sweep for the Cowboys since 2004.
On top of that, the building was going bezerko as Jawun Evans brought the Cowboys back with his 27 points and late in the game his 16 straight points in the closing six minutes of the contest led Oklahoma State to the win. The win takes the Cowboys to 18-9 on the season and, again, after an 0-6 start in the Big 12 the team is back to .500 in the conference at 7-7. It's been an amazing rally by Underwood's first edition Oklahoma State team, so the way this game ended was only fitting.
The Cowboys came out from the halftime locker room trailing 53-44 and after Jeffrey Carroll hit a 3-pointer and then Evans off an inbounds pass was stolen tipped the ball to Phil Forte to make it 58-55. A few minutes later, Davon Dillard, who also had a solid game and contributed in several ways, knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a three-point game. Later, Carroll would hit another three as Oklahoma State finished 12-of-30 from beyond the arc. It was a 67-65 Oklahoma lead at that point.
The Sooners were close to giving up the lead, but then Oklahoma distanced it out again as the Sooners stole an inbounds pass themselves and on the offensive end Rashard Odomes, who finished with a career night and 29 points, hit a lay-in and was fouled by Carroll to make it a three-point play. Immediately after that the Cowboys turned the ball over again and Odomes had another lay up.
Oklahoma would take the lead in the middle of the second half out to 13 points at 82-69 when Kameron McGusty hit a jumper. That's about the time the game in Gallagher-Iba Arena resembled something you would be more likely to see in downtown Oklahoma City at the Chesapeake Arena. It was up and down the floor with lots of offense, thankfully, the majority of it from Evans.
"I probably didn't envision that (up and down offense) coming in," Brad Underwood said on the Cowboy Radio Network after the game. "Give Oklahoma credit, they made shots. They were dialed in and focused. It was a great environment in here and then we settled down the last five minutes. We threw some zone (defense) in and it kind of changed the tempo of the game a little bit. The last six minutes we got the stops and and the rebounds when we had to."
A follow by Dillard off an Evans miss and then a Forte 3-pointer were part of a 9-0 Oklahoma State run and then Evans drove the ball down the right side of the lane to close the OU lead to 84-80. After an Odomes jumper, Evans hit one to match. Odomes scored again and then Evans hit a three to make it 88-85 Oklahoma.
Kristian Doolittle hit a long jumper for two and then Evans scored on a lay-in. Then it was just Evans taking over with another lay in and then he was fouled and hit two free throws. Following five empty trips down the floor, Evans came back with a tear drop shot in the lane and Oklahoma State led 91-90 with 1:42 left to go.
At 1:20 left, Carroll fouled Odomes and that sent Carroll to the bench with his fifth foul but Odomes to the line to make two free throws and give OU the lead back at 92-91. On the other end, who else, Evans drove to the basket and hit off the glass and was fouled by Odomes. The free throw made it 94-92. After Doolittle missed a three pointer, Solomon got an offensive rebound and was fouled. The big guy from Bixby hit both free throws and it was 96-92.
"Bend my knees, follow through. Bend my knees, follow through," Solomon said when asked what he was thinking on those last two free throws on a night where he was six-for-six from the line.
Solomon got his hands on the ball again after an OU miss and the clock ran out for the Cowboys win with the building rocking and a Bedlam trophy waiting, Again, it's the first Bedlam sweep for the Cowboys since 2004, also the second Final Four trip for Sutton when he coached the Cowboys.
"Late, we had the best player on the floor," Underwood said of Evans. "Best player on the floor, you know we isolated him in several different spots and let him go to work. Whether it was a three-point, a three-pointer or drives to the rim you know he really struggled prior to that. This wasn't one of his ideal games, but man, it was his true character and his ability to always be in the moment and he was elite tonight."
"I put it on myself at the beginning of the game," Evans said of his night, which ended with not just the 16 points straight but 27 points total. "I wasn't attacking in the first half, but in the second half my team needed me and I had to be aggressive and do whatever I needed to in order to win the game. I felt like they were on their heels and I could either stop and shoot it or go by them. The crowd had a great impact. They gave us energy. When I was out there tired and I heard them cheering then I got my legs back and I was ready to go."
The first half started off well enough and if you had told Cowboy fans that at halftime Forte, who had the three that provided the winning margin in the first Bedlam game in Norman, would have 15 points with three first half 3-pointers, and Carroll would have 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, then that might be enough to think the Pokes were having their way with the somewhat depleted Sooners. After all, the headline in The Daily O'Collegian, playing off Oklahoma's chant, was "There is Only One... Last Place Team in the Big 12".
Oklahoma State led 13-9 off a Brandon Averette baseline 3-pointer and that is when things turned. Dante Buford went on a run for Oklahoma as he hit the first of his three-for-three effort from 3-point range in the first half and every single one of those threes was a momentum booster. The first gave Oklahoma its first lead in the game at 14-13, the second trey made it 26-21 Sooners and came right off the heels of a stop and pop 3-pointer by Forte, and finally, he collected a three off of an offensive rebound that put OU up 46-34. Buford had 11 points at the half.
The other big weapon offensively for Oklahoma was Odomes. Odomes was the trash collector for Oklahoma as he hit a slam dunk off a block on the defensive end by Khadeem Lattin of a Evans drive and on the other end Odomes performed a little stutter step before going on past the flying by Forte for a slam dunk. Later he scored after having his shot blocked but he got it back, got the basket, and was fouled by the original shot blocker for the Cowboys in seven-footer Lucas N'Guessan.
On top of all that, Odomes did hit a 3-pointer, his first made three of the season, which give you an indicator of how good things went the last 14 minutes of the half for Oklahoma and how poorly they went at times for the Cowboys.
"We never got him under control, never got him under control the whole night," Underwood said of Odomes.
Thanks to Carroll, who scored the last five points of the half for the Cowboys they went to the locker room with just a single digit deficit at 55-46. They gave up 55 first half points, OU shot 18-of-31 from the field and 7-of-12 from three-point range. The Cowboys were out-rebounded 21-19.
The final numbers in the game could be looked at as somewhat deceiving. Oklahoma ended up shooting 55 percent from the field at 31-of-56. They were 10-of-21 from 3-point range for 48 percent. The free throws weren't that different as OU was 20 of 26 and Oklahoma State 22 of 28, two point more than OU. The Cowboys shot an even 50 percent from the field at 31 of 62, but they were 12 of 30 from 3-point range. The accounting tells us that accounts for the other two points in a four-point Pokes win.
The Cowboys take one more important step toward making sure they are included in the NCAA party in March and like The O'Collegian headline, albeit with credit for playing their tails off, Oklahoma slips further into last place in the Big 12 at 9-17 and 3-11 in conference play.
Oklahoma State with its move to 7-7 evening up the Big 12 record, is after the dust settled in the Big 12 today, now alone in fifth place with the purple duo of TCU and Kansas State at 6-8 behind them. Oklahoma State will play at Kansas State next on Wednesday at 8 p.m.