K-State Stuns #6 Oklahoma St. In Big 12 Opener


Marcus Foster scored 17 points and Nino Williams added 15 including three clutch free throws in the game’s final 13 seconds to lift Kansas State to a 74-71 upset over sixth-ranked Oklahoma State before a sold out Bramlage Coliseum Saturday afternoon in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

In a very physical contest K-State went toe to toe with a team that Head Coach Bruce Weber called a potential Final Four team that was missing two key players. Center Michael Cobbins had season ending surgery on his Achilles Tendon earlier this week and then backup point guard Stevie Clark was arrested on New Year’s Morning and was subsequently suspended for Saturday’s game.

The Cowboys scored the first five points of the game before a pair of free throws by Wesley Iwundu got K-State on the scoreboard. From that point on neither team had a lead larger than five points. The teams spent much of the first half trading leads including the final eight seconds when Jevon Thomas put the Wildcats ahead with a jumper before Markel Brown knocked down a layup at the buzzer to give Oklahoma State a 38-37 halftime advantage.

The Cowboys extended their lead to four points before K-State erupted for a 5-0 run to take a 43-42 lead with 14:10 remaining in the game. After Oklahoma State promptly answered with a five-point surge of its own, the Cowboys maintained a slim lead for the next nine minutes until the Wildcats finally pulled ahead with an 8-0 run in a span of one minute and 39 seconds capped by a Foster layup that gave Kansas State a 65-60 lead with 3:36 remaining and despite Oklahoma State staying close, the Wildcats never trailed again.

K-State missed 11 free throws in this contest but Oklahoma State missed nine and this game came down to free throws in the final minute. After Thomas Gipson made two free throws to give K-State a 71-68 lead with 24 seconds left, Williams hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to four points with 13 seconds left. However, the Cowboys refused to give up, cutting the lead to 72-71 with eight seconds remaining on a three-point basket by Phil Forte. Williams was then fouled and knocked down two more free throws before what would have been a game-tying three pointer by Cowboy superstar Marcus Smart was way off the mark as the buzzer sounded giving the Wildcats their first home win over a Top-10 opponent since a conference-opening win over Missouri on January 7, 2012.

Joining Foster and Williams in double figures for the Wildcats was Gipson who had 10 points and Thomas had eight points to go along with five assists as he continues to make an impact on games. Le’Bryan Nash led Oklahoma State with 20 points, Brown had 16, Smart added 15 and Forte chipped in with 14. Kansas State (11-3, 1-0) has now won nine straight games for its longest winning streak since a 10-game streak during the 2009-10 season. The Wildcats will hit the road for the next two games starting Tuesday in Ft. Worth against an improved TCU squad. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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Erik Stone

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