Cowboys Fall To Wildcats; Prep For NCAAs

Oklahoma State caught Kansas State at the worst time. The nation's ninth-ranked team was coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season, and the Wildcats were looking for a measure of revenge against the Cowboys. K-State looked like a team on a mission Thursday night in rolling to an easy 83-64 victory in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Oklahoma State falls to 22-10 with the loss and now waits for Sunday's announcement where it will play in next week's NCAA Tournament.

Kansas State, which had lost twice to the Cowboys the past two seasons, including a 73-69 upset loss in Manhattan on Jan. 23, improves to 25-6 entering Friday night's semifinal game.

The Cowboys did not look like the same team that rolled to a 14-point victory over Oklahoma in a first-round game of the Big 12 tourney on Wednesday. After shooting 53.6 percent against the Sooners, making 7 of 14 three-pointers in the first half en route to a 22-point halftime lead, OSU struggled to make anything in the first half against Kansas State, shooting just 33.3 percent in the first 20 minutes and 39.6 percent for the game.

Head coach Travis Ford's team only made two field goals in the game's first eight minutes against the Wildcats. The Cowboys rallied midway through the first half after falling behind 23-8.

Obi Muonelo got the Cowboys rolling with a three-pointer – their first basket in more than four minutes. Keiton Page sandwiched a pair of treys around a pair of James Anderson free throws, and Anderson then drilled a three and before Kansas State head coach Frank Martin knew what was going on the Cowboys had pulled within 27-23 with 8:20 on the clock.

But that was as good as it would get for the Cowboys. Muonelo picked up his third foul on the Wildcats' next possession, and Matt Pilgrim would be whistled for his third just two minutes later. The Wildcats closed out the half with a 24-3 run, including scoring the halves final 16 points, to go up 51-26 at halftime.

"Everything went down hill after that. We cut it to four and then Obi gets his third foul and has to come out of the game, and that was definitely devastating to us," Ford said. "We looked like a tired basketball team a little bit. As I told our team, we had a bad second half yesterday and it kind of carried over to tonight.

"But give Kansas State all the credit. It was probably more about them than it was about us. They really got after us. We beat them twice last year and this year already. They were ready to go, and making plays.

"We just didn't play very well. We made a lot of mistakes and looked tired at times. We just didn't have it in us," Ford added.

Anderson led the Cowboys with 27 points but he was just 1-of-9 shooting in the first half and finished 8 for 21 from the field, including making just 4 of 14 three pointers. Pilgrim (12), Muonelo (11) and Page (10) also scored in double figures.

Jamar Samuels scored a career-high 27 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds, in 27 minutes of play to lead the Wildcats.

The Cowboys will return to Stillwater on Friday and begin preparations for the NCAA Tournament.

"Win or lose this time of year you move on. You can't dwell on the past game. We need to learn from it but you can't dwell on it. I told our guys once you leave that locker room let's leave it behind us, get back to Stillwater, practice and prepare for the NCAA Tournament," Ford said.

"But there are lessons to learn in this. We just had guys who got some opportunities ... we just need to get everybody on the same page, and everybody when they get in the game making positive plays."


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