K-State’s up but mostly down start to the season came to a crossroads Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. The outcome, if anything, proved that the Wildcats are still down but certainly not out.
The Wildcats (9-7, 2-1) scored their first true road win of the season, and first in Big 12 play, Saturday afternoon, knocking off No. 16 Oklahoma (11-4, 2-1) 66-63.
The 200th meeting between the two schools was certainly one to remember as it came down to the wire at both the end of regulation and overtime. In both instances, it took the heroics of sophomore guard Marcus Foster, who had 14 points in his return to the starting lineup, to push K-State to victory in a difficult road environment.
The first half was jumpstarted by Foster, who had previously come off the bench the past two games, hitting two, big three-point jumpers. K-State maintained the lead throughout the majority of the first half, with the only lead change coming on a three pointer by Sooner junior guard Buddy Hield, who led all scorers with 31 points in a dominant offensive effort.
Due to early foul trouble with both Foster and senior forward Thomas Gipson, K-State needed their bench to come through in a big way. That they did.
Junior forward Stephen Hurt and junior guard Justin Edwards both had big performances coming off the bench, with a team-leading 15 points and 7 rebounds for Hurt and 9 points and six rebounds for Edwards. Hurt’s effort was the most impressive in his early K-State career. It was also key for the Wildcats in the final 20 minutes.
The second half saw both highs and lows in terms of K-State’s offense. The Wildcats started the half on a 11-2 run that almost pushed their lead to 10 points.
But poor shot choices and several other lapses on the defensive end led to a 12-3 Sooner run capped off by a emphatic steal and dunk that took the lead by junior Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler. Spangler finished the night one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Sooners went up by as much as four points late in regulation before K-State pushed for a final run.
After several empty trips on both ends of the court, a layup by Foster cut the lead to two. Spangler was then sent to the line to try to make it a two possession game once more.
A miss on Spangler’s one-and-one opportunity gave K-State, down two, the ball with 30 seconds left in regulation.
Foster sent up a miracle floater in the dying seconds that dropped in despite Oklahoma jerseys surrounding him. The shot sent an energetic K-State bench into a loud roar, and the game into overtime.
The Sooners came out of the gate quick in overtime with a three, but missed free throws down the stretch. K-State took advantage, going on a 6-0 run to take a four-point lead.
However, Oklahoma free throws and a Hield lay-up tied the game up with the Wildcats, again, left with a chance for the final shot.
And again, Foster was the go-to player. The talented guard dribbled to an open look on the right wing, sent up a shot, and the thousands inside the Lloyd Noble Center witnessed the ball fall into the netting, giving K-State a second-straight win.
K-State will look to continue its new found success Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum against Texas Tech. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.