Kansas St.-Oklahoma St. Preview
It's been nearly 20 years since Kansas State went to Stillwater, Okla., and came away with a win.
The 25th-ranked Wildcats will try to overcome that daunting history when they visit Oklahoma State on Saturday looking to continue their recovery after a grueling start to conference season.
The Wildcats (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) have lost 11 in a row on the road to the Cowboys and 13 of 16 overall in the series. Kansas State's last win at Gallagher-Iba Arena was a 75-62 overtime victory Jan. 9, 1993.
The Wildcats had one of their worst shooting nights of the season in a 76-62 loss there last Jan. 8, making 35.6 percent from the field.
"It is crazy. That building is hard," said Kansas State coach Frank Martin, 2-3 overall against the Cowboys. "Last year, we were managing the game, and then we came apart at the seams. I think we had four players foul out. We were up eight, and we just came apart at the seams."
Kansas State got off to an 11-1 start this season, but then faced Big 12 title contenders Kansas, Missouri and Baylor in succession to open conference play. The Wildcats beat Missouri after falling to the Jayhawks, but then lost by two to the Bears and by nine at Oklahoma.
Kansas State struggled somewhat again Wednesday but won 84-80 over Texas at home, getting a career-high 33 points from Rodney McGruder.
"We've been walking around like a bunch of young kids that lost their dogs," Martin said. "You can't win games if that's how you feel. When you're zoned in and you're emotional, it's still hard as heck to win. If you're walking around like you lost your dog, you've got no chance."
Oklahoma State (9-9, 2-3) has had its share of ups and downs as well. The Cowboys are using five freshmen in their top-eight rotation.
After getting blown out by then-No. 4 Baylor 106-65 at home last Saturday, Oklahoma State suffered a heartbreaking 71-68 loss at Iowa State on Wednesday, falling on a banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Cowboys had led by six with less than three minutes remaining.
"Our guys showed a lot of resilience, and we fought back from a tough game last game," coach Travis Ford said. "You're looking at a bunch of freshmen going up against a bunch of 22-, 23-, 24-year old seniors out there tonight, in a sold-out arena. I can't remember seeing a more dejected locker room than what I just left."
The Cowboys have lost seven of 10. They're 7-1 at home but have dropped six in a row overall to ranked teams.
Kansas State will be playing without junior forward Jordan Henriquez, who was suspended indefinitely by Martin on Thursday for conduct detrimental to the team. Henriquez has played in every game this season and is averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.