Wildcats set to take on Cowboys in final road game

Photo by George Walker | Collegian Junior forward Thomas Gipson is defended by Iowa State forwards Georges Niang (left) and Melvin Ejim as he prepares to take a shot during the Wildcats' 80-73 defeat of Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.

K-State is running out of opportunities to win away from Bramlage Coliseum before postseason play begins. The Wildcats only have one more opportunity, to be precise. That opportunity will come Monday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-10, 7-9 Big 12).

“It’s a tough matchup,” senior forward Shane Southwell said. “They are a really good team. Like coach (Weber) said, they have three really good players.”

Both the Wildcats and Cowboys will enter Monday night’s matchup with momentum on their side. Oklahoma State has now won three straight games since sophomore guard Marcus Smart has returned from his three-game suspension. Most recently, the Cowboys added a big 72-65 win over the Kansas Jayhawks to their resume. The Cowboys and Wildcats are two of only three Big 12 opponents who have gotten the better of the Jayhawks this year. Smart is averaging approximately 18 points, 7.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game since his return.

On Saturday, the Wildcats also added a win over a top 25 team, as they knocked off the No. 15 Iowa State. With a 80-73 victory over the Cyclones, the Wildcats improved their home winning streak to 15 games, which includes an 8-0 Big 12 home record this season. However, it’s been a different story on the road; the Wildcats are just 2-6 away from Bramlage in conference play.

The two teams have gone through a lot since their first meeting back in early January. Almost two months ago, it was the Cowboys who strolled into Bramlage Coliseum ranked No. 6 in the country. K-State used a second half surge to claw past the Cowboys, which was considered one of the big upsets of the early part of the Big 12 season.

After suffering a seven-game losing streak, the Cowboys have had their backs against the wall with aspirations of playing in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats, on the other hand, now have seven wins over RPI top 50 teams. K-State’s win over the Cyclones on Saturday forced a four-way tie for second place in the Big 12 standings. With the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo. only right around the corner, the Wildcats could use a big road win in Stillwater.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.