No. 7 Kansas St. 83, Oklahoma 68
If Denis Clemente isn’t playing fast and pushing the pace, he
doesn’t feel like he’s doing his job.
After seeing him at work, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel rates him
among the best in the country.
Clemente scored 27 points and led a 3-point barrage by No. 7
Kansas State, propelling the Wildcats to an 83-68 victory against
the spiraling Sooners on Saturday.
“I think Clemente is the fastest guy in college basketball from
end to end, especially with the ball in his hands. When he’s making
his jump shot, which he’s been doing, he’s awfully, awfully tough
to guard,” Capel said.
Clemente hit five of his first seven 3-pointers, including a
pair that he bracketed around another 3 by Jamar Samuels during a
quick 9-0 burst that put Kansas State up by double digits for the
first time at 59-49 with 12:41 to play.
Dominique Sutton added another 3-pointer to finish an
eight-point run that extended K-State’s advantage to 71-55 with
8:05 remaining. At that point, the Wildcats (22-4, 9-3 Big 12) had
hit 10 of their first 17 shots from 3-point range against an
Oklahoma defense with the worst 3-point defense in the Big 12. They
“It felt good. When you make a couple 3s, you want to keep
shooting,” said Clemente, who has hit at least five 3-pointers in
three of his last five games. “What can you do? You just keep
Capel said Clemente, who also had six assists, merits
consideration as perhaps the top point guard in the country other
than Kentucky’s John Wall.
“The main thing is that he’s older,” Capel said. “He has such
a confidence out there and such control of the game, and that’s
something that the really, really elite point guards have.”
Clemente, who transferred to Kansas State after two seasons at
Miami (Fla.), regularly used his acceleration to beat defenders up
the floor or lose them around screens. When he wasn’t creating his
own shot, he was getting others open – as he did on Samuels’
3-pointer that was sandwiched between two of his own.
“That’s my job, to control the game, control what we do,” said
Clemente, a Puerto Rico native and a second cousin of baseball
great Roberto Clemente.
Tommy Mason-Griffin scored 16 points and fellow freshman Andrew
Fitzgerald matched his career-high with 14 points as Oklahoma
(13-13, 4-8) lost its fourth straight game. The Sooners played
without leading scorer Willie Warren for the fourth time in eight
games, first because of a sprained ankle and then
Capel said Warren would be out indefinitely with an ankle injury
for which he couldn’t provide a technical description.
Jacob Pullen, Clemente’s partner in one of the nation’s most
explosive backcourts, and Curtis Kelly added 14 points as both
teams had five players reach double figures. Samuels scored 12 and
Sutton had 11.
“They have two of the best guards in our league and they play
so fast with the ball,” Oklahoma guard Cade Davis said. “You’d
think some people would be fast just without it, but (Clemente) can
go. The stretch there in the second half, he started going. He kind
of just stepped up and took over the game, started making some big
shots for them.”
In the final minutes, many of Oklahoma’s fans started heading
upstairs and toward the door while a vocal contingent of Kansas
State fans decked out in purple filtered down to take their
The Wildcats won their fifth straight away game and assured
themselves of a winning road record in conference play for the
first time since the 1987-88 season. In the process, they kept
top-ranked Kansas from clinching at least a share of the Big 12
On the way off the floor, K-State players waved at the cheering
fans who had moved behind their bench.
“We knew that they were there the whole night. When we scored,
we could hear them,” Pullen said. “They were spread out all over
the gym. They did a great job of just letting us let us know that
they were in the building supporting us. It’s always great to go on
the road and get a win and see your crowd cheering at the end of
The victory gave Frank Martin 65 in his first three seasons at
Kansas State, breaking the mark held by Lon Kruger for the best
three-year start at the school. He’s also led the Wildcats to their
highest ranking since 1962.
Davis and Tony Crocker scored 11 for Oklahoma while Tiny Gallon
added 10 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four steals.
Oklahoma held its largest lead at 31-23 before Kansas State scored
12 straight points to claim a 35-33 halftime lead.
The Sooners opened a final regular season stretch with all five
of their opponents in the Top 25 this week, beginning with the
Wildcats and then top-ranked Kansas on Monday night.
After opening the season ranked 17th, the Sooners will likely
need to win the Big 12 tournament to return to the NCAA
Asked what his team would use for motivation, Capel said it was
an opportunity for everyone to get better and then added: “I don’t
mean this in a negative way, but scholarships aren’t guaranteed for
next year. There will be some decisions that will be made. So if
guys aren’t motivated, they’ll make that decision a little bit