Kansas State men’s basketball (14-12, 6-8) played a tight game against Oklahoma State (13-13, 6-8) on Saturday, Feb. 19, but lost a close one 82-79 in overtime.
Oklahoma State got off to a hot start with back-to-back jumpers by junior Avery Anderson III and sophomore Bryce Thompson before a super-senior Mark Smith three-pointer got the Wildcats rolling.
The Cowboys took a seven-point lead after another Anderson jump shot with 5:52 left in the first half, but the Wildcats answered with a 10-1 run for the lead. Both teams battled, with the half ending on a deep Nijel Pack three to keep the Wildcats within two going into the break.
The second half was back-and-forth for the majority of the time. The Wildcats used the paint on offense but couldn’t stop the Cowboys on defense.
Near the end of the game, the Wildcats found themselves down seven, but Pack found his stroke, scoring five points on back-to-back possessions. With 1:05 left in the game, junior Kaosi Ezeagu threw down a game-tying dunk off of a nice feed from junior Markquis Nowell.
In overtime, the Cowboys started off with two quick baskets to take a five-point lead. Free throws from Pack tied the game up with 12 seconds left, but Oklahoma State’s Avery Anderson III made a three-point jump shot to put the Cowboys up three with three seconds left on the clock. A deep three-pointer from Nowell couldn’t fall, and the Cowboys took the win, 82-79.
“They’re resilient, they talk a lot about perseverance,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “Staying focused on our mission, actually, it’s a surprise we were in the game, to be honest. We were down seven in the final stretch, and we fought back.”
The Wildcats have lost five conference games decided by three points or less this season.
“We have the Sunflower Showdown, and we gotta go to KU,” Weber said, “If you can’t get excited for that, then you don’t deserve to play college basketball.”
With four players in double-digit points, the Wildcats shot 32 threes and made 13 of them, shooting 40.6 percent.
“Coach always says that we’re good shooters, and we do have good shooters around the arc. I think it’s the work that we always put in after practice,” Mark Smith said. “Nijel is shooting, Mike is shooting, Ish is shooting, Selton and Markquis are always shooting — we truly are a good shooting team, we try to make it a competition and see who can go through the spots the fastest. We just try to make each other better and push every day.”
The Wildcats are back in action at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks.