Kansas University junior point guard Naadir Tharpe exited Gallagher-Iba Arena with a huge ice pack engulfing his entire left hand Saturday night. KU freshman center Joel Embiid needed to leave the game in the second half after re-injuring his back. By Gary Bedore
KU coach Bill Self discusses KU's 72-65 loss at Oklahoma State.
After thousands of his new closest friends stormed the floor at Gallagher-Iba Arena to celebrate Oklahoma State's 72-65 victory over No. 5 Kansas on Saturday night, OSU senior Markel Brown found himself crowd surfing above the jubilant crowd.By Matt Tait
Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden's postgame press conference after 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State.
Kansas University had Marcus Smart’s Oklahoma State team, which desperately needed a victory to revive sagging NCAA Tournament hopes, on the ropes. Then Markel Brown got hot. Then Smart smelled blood, and when that happens, all best are off. By Tom Keegan
By Matt Tait --- email@example.com
Stillwater, Okla. — The Kansas University basketball team clinched the Big 12 regular season title outright on Saturday night at Oklahoma State but did so thanks to losses by Texas and Iowa State earlier in the day, as the fifth-ranked Jayhawks fell 72-65 to the Cowboys.
The two teams traded buckets and ugly play in the first half and KU led 26-25 at halftime.
The offense opened up in the second half and KU controlled things for a good chunk of it, building a lead of as many as 10 points, midway through. But OSU stormed back behind Marcus Smart's 20 second-half points, and handed the Jayhawks their third loss of the conference season.
KU was led by 15 points from Andrew Wiggins and 13 points and 13 rebounds from Joel Embiid but shot just 40 percent for the game.
The loss drops KU to 22-7 overall and 13-3 in Big 12 play.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: With KU up by 10 and in control, Oklahoma State found some life and some momentum with a couple of slam dunks that both lifted the team and ignited the building. Less than four minutes after leading by 10, KU saw its lead down to just one with 6:38 to play.
• Offensive highlight: Although the first half was pretty ugly overall, there were a couple of plays that were worthy of highlight status. The first came in the opening minutes, when Joel Embiid grabbed a loose rebound and went coast-to-coast with the dribble for the easy lay-in. His last two steps took him from near the three-point line to the rim and although he did look like a seven-footer dribbling, he also looked pretty smooth given his enormous size. Several minutes after Embiid's Shaquille O'Neal moment, Wayne Selden rebounded a missed layup by Naadir Tharpe and hammered it without coming down. He did bring the ball below his chest, though, which made the degree of difficulty much greater.
• Defensive highlight: Just a couple of minutes into the second half, Joel Embiid crashed the glass when Andrew Wiggins pulled up from three-point range. The shot missed and Embiid whiffed on the rebound try, but as he was falling to the ground, he dove horizontally, all-out, to tap the ball back out to Selden to give KU another possession. His length and ridiculous body control made the whole thing possible and even though it came on the offensive end, it kept the ball away from OSU and a potential fast-break making it a heck of a defensive play.
• Key stat: Free throws. The Cowboys shot nearly twice as many free throws at KU (33 to 18) and were in the double bonus in the second half with seven minutes still to play. KU made its free throws (14-of-18) but the Jayhawks just didn't get to the line as often.
• Up next: The Jayhawks return home Wednesday for a rematch with Texas Tech at 8 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse. KU survived a scare from the Red Raiders two weeks ago in Lubbock, Texas.
The fifth-ranked Kansas University basketball team is on the road in Stillwater, Okla., taking on an Oklahoma State squad that welcomed ESPN's Gameday to town.
The Jayhawks (22-6 overall, 13-2 Big 12) enter this one having already clinched at least a share of a 10th straight Big 12 title and will have the chance to win it outright with a victory over the Cowboys (18-10, 6-9).
A loss by Texas earlier today opened the door for KU to clinch the outright title before the end of this one, as the Jayhawks need either a victory or losses by Texas and Iowa State to clinch the title. Iowa State is playing Kansas State in Manhattan.
Gallagher-Iba Arena already is starting to fill up and the Cowboys fans have all kinds of special gear and promotions planned for this one.
We'll have more nuggets and observations shortly when the teams take the floor.