The odds were literally stacked against the Sooners. Not only were they heading to a place where no player on scholarship had ever won but also facing the only team that has beaten Oklahoma at home all season.
Things got worse after tip-off.
Oklahoma struggled on both ends of the court long stretches, including 14 offensive rebounds allowed and a 3-for-17 shooting performance from behind the 3-point arc by a team that averages nearly 40 percent.
Kansas State averaged less than 24 free throws per game before Saturday, when the Wildcats took 36 – twice as many as Oklahoma and the most allowed by the Sooners all season. The previous high was 26.
Still, Oklahoma had it all cleared – all the obstacles overcome in the final minute.
In stepped Kansas State guard Marcus Foster, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer earlier this season. Foster, coming off a three-game suspension, hit another game-winning 3-pointer from the same right wing – albeit in a different city – to give Kansas State a 59-56 victory, snapping Oklahoma’s five-game winning streak.
"They were just more aggressive than us on both ends of the floor. That's it," Oklahoma forward TaShawn Thomas said to reporters after the game. "They fought harder on almost every possession."
Kansas State, which came into the game with an RPI above 100 and a five-game losing streak, swept the season series with Oklahoma.
“K-State’s team has battled hard all year,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Bruce (Weber) has done a great job to keep them working. They have had numerous starting lineups for different reasons, but they have worked hard. Every film looks the same in terms of great effort and intensity. It is not easy to do when you have different things happening to your lineup, but Bruce has done a great job of dealing with that.”
Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler fouled out for only the third time in his Sooners’ career and watched from the bench as the Sooners, who were outrebounded by nine, couldn’t overcome everything.
A 3-pointer by Justin Edwards with 9:25 to play gave Kansas State (13-13, 6-7 Big 12) a five-point lead. Only, the shot shouldn’t have counted. The ball was still in Edwards’ hand when the shot clock hit zero – a play that cannot be reviewed outside of the final four minutes of each half.
A 7-0 run still put No. 17 Oklahoma (17-8, 8-5) even with the Wildcats, who have won five of the last six against the Sooners, with 91 seconds to play after a pair of free throws by point guard Jordan Woodard.
After a Kansas State miss, Woodard missed to give Kansas State its final chance with 59 seconds to play.
Kansas State, which hit just one field goal in the final 3:52, missed with 21 seconds to play, but an offensive rebound by Wesley Iwundu gave Foster his chance to play Oklahoma heartbreaker, again.
Coming across a screen, Foster found himself open for a deep 3, which he nailed. Coffin shut.
“Well, he has done it twice,” Kruger said. “He had a good shot and same similar type shot and spot in Norman.”
Oklahoma had scored at least 64 points in each of its last five games, all victories but shot just 17.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Kansas State hit just 13 field goals all game. The Wildcats hit more than twice as many free throws (28).
A 1-for-11 showing in the first half was the worst 3-point shooting performance since a 0-for-6 second half against Kansas State on Jan. 10.
“They were hustling, and they had the speed against us,” Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield said.
Buddy Hield, who was called for two offensive fouls in a 20-second span in the second half, finished with a team-high 14 points. Woodard scored 13, and Thomas had 10 points.
For the second time in the Big 12 season, Kansas State ruined Oklahoma’s high.
The Sooners, who will play Texas on Tuesday, opened conference play with a pair of big victories. The Wildcats spoiled that inside Lloyd Noble Center.
Playing Saturday with its longest winning streak of the season and coming off a big victory against Iowa State – maybe the biggest victory of the season, Kansas State struck again.