No. 2 Jayhawks’ streak snapped, lose to Oklahoma State

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Markel Brown let out a roar. Marcus Smart did a cart-wheel and a back flip.

Travis Ford exhaled for the first time all game.

After establishing a big first-half

lead, Oklahoma State watched it all melt away Saturday. But in one of

the rare instances of a team refusing to lose at intimidating Allen

Fieldhouse, Brown and Smart managed to hold things together down the

stretch against second-ranked Kansas.

Together, they helped the Cowboys pull

out an 85-80 victory that ended the Jayhawks’ nation-leading 18-game

winning streak — and their 33-game streak at the Phog, too.

“We just beat one of the top teams in

the country, and a great team at that,” said Smart, who had seven of his

25 points in the closing minutes. “It’s hard for teams to come into

their home court and get a victory. We’re one of the few teams that have

done it. We couldn’t believe it.”

That may account for his impromptu gymnastics.

“I was so ecstatic about the victory,” the freshman said, “it just came to me to do it.”

Brown finished with 28 points for the

Cowboys (15-5, 5-3 Big 12), who hadn’t beaten a top-5 team on the road

since knocking off the Jayhawks on Jan. 2, 1958.

Oklahoma State stunned the Jayhawks by

building a 14-point lead in the first half, but Kansas had pulled ahead

64-60 on a 3-pointer by Naadir Tharpe midway through the second half.

The Jayhawks still led by six when Phil

Forte hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 4:15 left to begin a 13-2

charge, allowing Oklahoma State to seize control.

The Cowboys’ stretched the lead to

77-69 with 50 seconds remaining, but the Jayhawks (19-2, 7-1) managed to

play savvy defense and take advantage of a couple missed free throws.

Andrew White III’s 3-pointer made it 78-75, and his free throw made it

78-76 with 36 seconds left in the game.

Forte, an 89-percent foul shooter, made

two at the line to restore a cushion, and White answered with two of

his own. Smart added a free throw, and Johnson’s layup cut the Cowboys’

lead to 81-80.

Forte calmly made two more free throws

with 7.9 seconds remaining, and Johnson turned the ball over near

mid-court before Kansas could even get up a tying 3-point attempt. Forte

got ahold of the ball and laid it in at the buzzer to punctuate the

victory.

“This place here, it’s one of the

greatest environments in college basketball, against a great basketball

team,” said Ford, who had been 1-5 in his coaching career against

Kansas. “We figured a way out to score a few points. Really proud of our

effort.”

Forte finished with 11 points for the Cowboys, all of them in the second half.

Ben McLemore had 23 points to lead

Kansas. Kevin Young added 12 and Jeff Withey had 10 as the Jayhawks lost

at home to Oklahoma State for the first time since Feb. 8, 1989.

“We haven’t played good in three weeks

or whatever,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who lost for only eighth

time in 165 games at Allen Fieldhouse. “When you don’t play well, you

have to defend and rebound, and we didn’t do that worth a crap today. We

got what we deserved.”

Johnson’s turnover in the closing

seconds was the 16th of the game for the sloppy Jayhawks. They also had

16 earlier in the week, when they struggled to get past West Virginia.

“We don’t have a guard,” Self said despondently. “We don’t have a point guard.”

Having one sure would have helped in the first half.

That’s when the Cowboys took control

with a 19-3 run, taking advantage of the Jayhawks’ lousy offense while

getting the ball in the hands of Brown, who had 11 points during the

surge.

“We had to come out, punch them in the mouth and not let the crowd get into it,” Brown said.

By the time Brown was fouled by Johnson

and converted the three-point play with 10:58 left in the half,

Oklahoma State had a 26-12 lead — the largest by anybody against the

Jayhawks all season.

Kansas eventually went on an 11-3 run

of its own to get back into the game, but Brown delivered another

3-pointer out of a timeout and Oklahoma State managed to maintain a

40-34 lead at the break.

Brown finished the first half with 22

points, just two off his season high. The junior guard was 7 of 10 from

the field, 5 of 7 from the arc and even had a couple assists.

Brown hit another 3 out of halftime before Kansas finally started to execute.

McLemore led the way with 11 points

during a 16-4, momentum-changing run. Twice he finished off alley-oops

from Johnson, and his lay-in with 13:23 left gave Kansas a 50-47 lead.

Smart and Brown refused to let the Cowboys wilt, though.

Smart, who considered Kansas before

signing with the Cowboys, scored back-to-back baskets, and Forte finally

scored after missing his first eight field-goal attempts. Brown then

hit his seventh 3-pointer, pulling Oklahoma State within 59-58 with just

over 8 minutes left in the game.

Forte added his first 3 moments later,

and Michael Cobbins followed up a miss by Forte with a massive dunk that

allowed the Cowboys to regain a 67-66 lead with 3:45 remaining.

“They got the best of us, definitely, on offensive rebounds,” Withey said.

Le’Bryan Nash, who had struggled all

gam, beat the shot clock with a jumper with 2:40 left that gave Oklahoma

State a 69-68 lead. And despite some tense moments down the stretch,

they did enough on defense and at the foul line to hang on for a

signature victory.

“It’s a big win, winning at Kansas.

That’s one of the biggest wins of our season right now,” Nash said. “It

was a good win, but we still want more.”