Kansas did themselves a huge favor by beating Oklahoma State last night, February 20, 2013, in two overtimes, 68-67. That win ties Kansas State for the Big 12 conference lead and puts OSU a game back. It also avenged an earlier season loss at Allen Fieldhouse to OSU that instigated a 3 game losing streak for the Hawks. It was a nip-and-tuck game that saw 23 total lead changes, 16 ties and the largest lead at just five points.
It wasn’t the most convincing win. It took guts and determination from KU to scrounge 68 points together on meager offensive production and sad three point shooting. OSU wasn’t much better shooting 32.8 percent from the floor to KU’s 41 percent. It was nice to see Kansas rebounding the ball to take advantage of missed shots from both teams to control the glass. Kansas also worked the advantage in the paint to outscore the Cowboys 44 to 20. The bread and butter of Kansas basketball this season was played as the strength in this game with KU taking the rebounding edge, points in the paint, holding an opponent to under 40 percent shooting and converting fast break opportunities to points.
Elijah Johnson took the entire first half to really warm up and them turned up the heat driving to the rim on several occasions in the second half. Kansas did not back down in the interior and with OSU’s Marcus Smart having injury issues, KU took advantage.
Three point shooting was non-existent for KU shooting 9.1 percent. A theme this season has been less than stellar shooting from beyond the arch. Luckily for Kansas, OSU wasn’t much better.
OSU would not let the game go without a fight. Marcus Smart brought them to overtime with an impressive shot that ended scoring in regulation to tie the game. He missed a last second attempt to win the game, but Smart was tough and a main factor why it took double overtime for KU to win.
Naadir Tharpe stepped up as best he could with Johnson sitting on the bench with 5 fouls in the first and second overtime. Tharpe needed to take control of this team and he did that with the last shot of the game that secured the lead for good for Kansas.
Overall it wasn’t a great game for KU. Ben McLemore was having issues scoring, but the Jayhawks fell back on what had got them this far this season. If Kansas can keep that resolve and fortitude, they still have a solid chance of winning the Big 12.
Jeff Withey scored 17 points for Kansas and pulled down a season-best 14 rebounds. Elijah Johnson added 10 points for KU before fouling out in the first overtime period and Kevin Young ripped down 11 rebounds to go with eight points.
Kansas plays the Horned Frogs in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday at 3 P.M. on the Big 12 Network.
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