Kansas Advances: Tops Cowboys in Overtime, 77-70
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the habit of signing his name throughout the Jayhawk record book, freshman guard Andrew Wiggins did so again with his game-high 30 points to fuel No. 10/10 Kansas past Oklahoma State, 77-70, in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Saturday afternoon.
Fittingly, the two preseason picks to tie for the regular-season Big 12 title, Kansas (24-8, 14-4 Big 12) and Oklahoma State (21-11, 8-10 Big 12), finally settled the score after the season series ended in a split. When the news came earlier in the week that the Jayhawks would be without their starting center, seven-foot freshman Joel Embiid, top-seeded Kansas was suddenly a man down – a big one at that. Yet, armed with a starting five all making their first career conference postseason start, the Jayhawks got what they needed from their scoring leader and Embiid’s replacement by committee.
Wiggins was stellar. His 30 points came up one shy of the KU record for points in a Big 12 postseason game (31, Wayne Simien vs. Missouri, 3/12/04) and marked the most by a Jayhawk freshman in the event. He racked up 9-of-17 makes from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Stepping up in Embiid’s absence, senior forward Tarik Black and sophomore forward Jamari Traylor pulled down a combined 21 rebounds as KU dominated the glass, 46-30. Black led all players with his season-high 12 rebounds, while Traylor tied his career-high with nine. Wiggins and sophomore forward Perry Ellis both grabbed eight rebounds each. Meanwhile, freshman guard Wayne Selden, Jr. joined Wiggins in double-figures with 14 points. Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe led the Jayhawks with four points, all at the line, in overtime and dished out a game-high seven assists.
On the other bench, Oklahoma State recorded its lowest first-half scoring output of the season when Kansas took a 32-23 lead into halftime, only to outscore the Jayhawks by the same margin in the second frame to force KU’s second overtime contest of the season. The Cowboys delivered a more balanced scoring effort with four players in double-figures with junior guard Le’Bryan Nash leading the effort with 19 points, followed by sophomore guard Phil Forte’s 16 points on a game-high four three-pointers. After registering four points on one basket in the first half, sophomore guard Marcus Smart brought his total to 12 by the end of regulation and went scoreless in overtime.
Neither got particularly ‘off and running’, both shooting under 40 percent by the second media timeout and tied at 11-11. After Forte knocked down his first three of the game, Kansas answered with one from freshman guard Frank Mason, helping the Jayhawks out to a two-score lead, 20-16. Five-straight points from Selden and a three from Wiggins powered KU to its largest lead of the half. Wiggins added three more free throws, sandwiched around a Jamari Traylor layup, to increase the edge further, 31-21.
Entering the final media timeout of the first half, Kansas was catching its stride. A 2-of-9 shooting start was wiped out with five-straight Jayhawk makes, turning an early OSU 9-2 run into a double-figure KU lead. While Smart was held to four points on a single bucket, Wiggins rolled into the lockerroom with 13 points, making a pair of threes and 5-of-6 from the line.
Embiid’s fill-in by committee role was impressive. Black rang up the first points of the game and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds in the first half and Traylor, who after a missed layup in the closing seconds of the first frame, sprinted down the floor to block a Forte three-pointer. Thus, the committee sent the Jayhawks to halftime with a 32-23 lead.
The reserves took a hit when Black was saddled with fouls number two and three in the first three minutes of the second half, but the Jayhawk guards stepped in to aid the big men. As Nash and Smart connected on shots, Wiggins and Selden did the same to keep the margin at a semi-comfortable distance, 41-32 – emphasis on ‘semi’.
Brown, Nash and Smart strung together three-straight shots in response, hacking the Jayhawk advantage to three points, 41-38, to bring on a Kansas timeout. When Ellis came out of the pause to hit a jumper off the glass, Forte marched to the other end for a three-pointer. Following another Ellis score, the Jayhawks were dealt a second blow on the foul front. With nearly 13 minutes still on the clock, Ellis was called for his fourth and he, too, took a seat on the bench.
After Nash hit both of his free throws to trim KU’s lead to two, the Jayhawks were in need of a serious boost. Wiggins and Tharpe did their thing individually with back-to-back layups, but their duel act was a much bigger jolt. Traylor swatted his second shot of the game, allowing space for a Kansas fast break – which ended in a picturesque Tharpe-to-Wiggins alley oop. The twosome prompted a Cowboy timeout, a roaring crowd and a 51-43 lead.
In less than 40 seconds, the Cowboys went on a rampage. Brown kicked it off with a jumper before the Cowboys made the top-seed pay dearly for turnovers on back-to-back possessions.
Forte forced the first one and converted into his own trey. Smart swiped the second and also turned it into a basket for himself. From 6:58 to 6:32, KU watched its lead slip from eight points to one. By the four-minute mark, the Cowboys had erased it all together to take their first lead of the second half, 60-59.
And it was on.
Kansas made it pretty with big time alley-oops from Tharpe-to-Black, and another from Selden to Wiggins. But Oklahoma State found flair on its end from the hands of Brown, who hit his only three-pointer of the game with 80 seconds remaining in regulation and Oklahoma State took the lead, 67-65. Wiggins retaliated with a long jumper to knot it up at 67-67, but neither had an answer for the last minute of regulation.
Overtime. Though both teams made just one shot in the extra time, Kansas held the aggressiveness advantage, going 8-for-12 at the free throw line compared to zero free shots for the Cowboys to close out the 77-70 win.
Kansas advances to the semifinals and will face Iowa State/Kansas State Friday at 6 p.m. on the Big 12 Network/ESPNU.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. Naadir Tharpe (28/28), Fr. Wayne Selden, Jr. (32/32), Fr. Andrew Wiggins (32/32), So. Perry Ellis (31/34), Sr. Tarik Black (12/72)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 109-55
ATTENDANCE: 18,972 (sell-out)
- Improved KU to 24-8 on the season, giving the Jayhawks 24 victories for the eighth-straight season (starting in 2005-06).
- Upped KU’s record to 17-1 in Big 12 Championship first games.
- Advanced Kansas to the tourney semifinals for the 16th time in Big 12 history and 34th time overall.
- Improved KU to 66-24 in league tournament play and 36-8 at the Big 12 Championship.
- Made Kansas 10-7 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse (5-6 in true road games, 5-1 on neutral floors).
- Evened the Jayhawks to 1-1 in overtime games this season, making KU 62-55 all-time in overtime games.
- Moved the Kansas-Oklahoma State series to 109-55 in favor of Kansas.
- Bettered the Jayhawks’ record to 23-4 all-time at Sprint Center, including 2-0 this season and 10 in a row.
- Changed head coach Bill Self’s record to 13-9 all-time against his alma mater, 324-67 while at Kansas and 531-172 overall. Self is also 31-9 in conference tournament play (22-4 at Kansas).
- Moved Kansas to 2,125-820 all-time.
- After starting the game 2-of-9 from the floor, KU made its next five-straight shots to end the first half making eight of their next 14 and a 10-of-23 overall first-half mark.
- Kansas held Oklahoma State to a season-low 23 points by halftime – second to OSU’s 25 points on March 1, 2014 – also against the Jayhawks.
- Kansas moved to 22-1 when leading at halftime.
- Oklahoma State held a firm turnover advantage in the first half (6-1), but failed to capitalize, tallying just one point off of turnovers in the first half. For the game, OSU committed only five turnovers to KU’s 14 to finish with a 12-5 points off of turnover advantage.
- The Cowboy comeback looked eerily similar to the one they pulled off against the Jayhawks in Stillwater on March 1. Kansas led by as many as 11 points in the second half on Thursday, one off of KU’s 10-point second-half lead in Stillwater. Oklahoma State came back to erase the deficit and turn it into a two-point lead (67-65) with 1:20 left in regulation.
- The difference was a 10-3 Kansas run in overtime, which saw neither Marcus Smart or Andrew Wiggins score.
- Kansas outrebounded the Cowboys, 46-30, the 27th time in 32 games that the Jayhawks best their opponent on the glass and the 15th time they’ve upped their opposition by double-figures.
- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins’ 30 points came up one shy of the KU record for points in a Big 12 postseason game (31, Wayne Simien vs. Missouri, 3/12/04) and marked the most by a Jayhawk freshman in the event.
- Wiggins 71 points in two-straight games (41 at West Virginia; 30 vs. Oklahoma State) marked the most points by a Jayhawk in consecutive games since the record began being kept in the 1988-89 season (57, Sherron Collins: vs. North Dakota State (32) and Dayton (25) on March 20 and 22, 2009).
- With limited resources beyond the 1988-89 stat keeping files on-site, former KU great Danny Manning posted 65 Wiggins now has 552 points on the year, inching his way to first place on the all-time Kansas freshmen scoring list. He now only trails Ben McLemore (589, 2013) as the all-time freshmen scoring leader at Kansas.
- With 174 field goals on the year, Wiggins passed Brandon Rush (170, 2006) and Kerry Boagni (171, 1983) for third all-time on the freshmen field goal list.
- Wiggins improved his KU freshmen record for free throws made (162), free throws attempted (210) and scoring average (17.3). He moved past Danny Manning (369, 1985) and into second on the freshman field goal attempts chart with 382.
- Wiggins played all 45 minutes on Thursday, making him the first Jayhawk to play the entire length of regulation since Tyshawn Taylor did so more than two years ago (vs. Baylor, 3/9/12).
- None of KU’s starting five had previously started a Big 12 Championship game, even sophomore F Perry Ellis, who was named to the 2013 Big 12 All-Tournament Team.
- On the flipside, three different Cowboys were in OSU’2 2013 starting lineup (Le’Bryan Nash, Markel Brown, Marcus Smart).
- Ironically, Ellis was the only KU starter that didn’t score in the first half, taking only two shots. He did, however, come in to make KU’s first basket of the second half.
- Senior F Tarik Black scored the game’s first points, a first for Black. Even more pleasing, the senior didn’t draw his first foul until the 6:42 mark – his only personal foul of the first half.
- Black also led the floor with 12 boards, his most as a Jayhawk.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor added to the rebound total, tying his career-high with nine.
- Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe dished out a game-high seven assists and led all players in overtime with four points.