9:00 PM ET, March 1, 2014
Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Smart, Oklahoma State Upset Kansas
Even after a first half in which he missed all seven shots, Oklahoma State's star guard remained intent on challenging one of the nation's most intimidating post players.
Smart's strategy worked. He scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half to help the Cowboys defeat the fifth-ranked Jayhawks 72-65 on Saturday night and give a major boost to his team's once-fading NCAA tournament hopes.
Smart made five of seven field goals and eight of 12 free throws in the second half. Embiid committed three fouls in the first 6 minutes of the second half, twice sending Smart to the free throw line. From there, the tone was set.
"I was always taught that you've got to attack the shot blocker," Smart said. "You've got to attack his body and chop him down a little bit. Take his legs from under him and that makes him a little shorter."
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford knew Smart was capable of turning things around.
"After the game, I told him he's a piece of work," Ford said. "You have to stick with him, because he's going to make plays. He's a competitor. That's what he did. He was huge down the stretch."
Markel Brown scored 21 points and Le'Bryan Nash added 16 for Oklahoma State (19-10, 7-9 Big 12), which overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half. The Cowboys improved to 3-0 since Smart returned from a three-game suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan.
Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points, Embiid had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Wayne Selden added 13 points for Kansas (22-7, 13-3), which already had clinched the Big 12 title outright before tipoff because Texas and Iowa State lost earlier.
Kansas coach Bill Self didn't care about the regular-season championship after the game. He was more focused on his team's 22 turnovers and 23 personal fouls.
"To me, we missed our opportunity to celebrate," he said.
Smart In Clutch
Marcus Smart stepped it up in the last 10 minutes, scoring 12 of his 21 points without missing a field goal attempt or turning it over. Oklahoma State outscored Kansas by 14 points in the final 10 minutes.
Marcus Smart Saturday vs Kansas
|First 30 Mins||Last 10 Mins*|
|*Oklahoma State outscored Kansas by 14|
--ESPN Stats & Information
Self was concerned with how his team fell apart late, especially defensively. Oklahoma State shot 64 percent from the field in the second half.
"What's frustrating to me is we had the game where we wanted it and then we didn't make competitive plays down the stretch to give us the best chance to win," he said.
Wiggins' three-point play tied the game at 64 with just over 2 minutes to play.
Smart made a layup with 46.1 seconds left to push Oklahoma State's lead to four, then he broke the press and hit another layup with 23.8 seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
The Jayhawks led 26-25 at halftime despite 35 percent shooting.
Oklahoma State shot just 24 percent in the first half but forced 11 turnovers. Nash and Brown scored nine points each to keep the Cowboys in the game
Brown hit a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the second half to give Oklahoma State a 28-26 lead, but Kansas answered with a 3-pointer by Selden.
Smart made his first field goal, a 3-pointer, with 17:46 to play. He drew the third foul on Embiid with 14:19 to go and the Jayhawks up 38-36. Wiggins picked up his third foul 11 seconds later.
Kansas responded with a run. With both freshman stars on the bench, Tharpe and Selden drained 3-pointers that helped put the Jayhawks up 46-38. A three-point play by Perry Ellis pushed Kansas' lead to nine, and a pair of free throws by Wiggins extended the margin to 10 for the first time.
Oklahoma State muscled its way back into the game with a three-point play by Nash and a long lob by Smart to Brown that cut Kansas' lead to five and got the crowd back into the game. The Cowboys moved into the double bonus with 5:50 remaining, and Brown made two free throws to give Oklahoma State a 60-59 lead.
The foul situation was a worst-case scenario for Kansas, given Smart's ability to attack.
"Of course, when you're the best guy in America at drawing fouls, you're going to be driving every time," Self said.
Smart's 3-pointer with 3:44 left put the Cowboys up 63-61. Oklahoma State then closed the game out, something the Cowboys struggled to do during their seven-game losing streak.
"That's what we're capable of doing every night," Brown said. "We were just poised out there on the court tonight, and we took advantage of the mistakes that Kansas made."
After the game, Self said that Embiid, who dealt with knee and back injuries a month ago, had "tweaked his back," according to CollegeBasketballTalk.com. He appeared to injure himself by landing awkwardly toward the end of the second half.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-57 (.404)||20-47 (.426)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-19 (.263)||5-17 (.294)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-18 (.778)||27-33 (.818)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
Big 12 Conference Standings
*Marcus Smart scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half, including eight at the free throw line. Smart made his last 3 field goal attempts in the paint as he attacked the basket late in the game.[+]
Marcus Smart stepped it up in the last 10 minutes, scoring 12 of his 21 points without missing a field-goal attempt or turning it over. Oklahoma State outscored Kansas by 14 points in the final 10 minutes.[+]
Marcus Smart Saturday vs Kansas
Marcus Smart hasn't increased his scoring since coming back from suspension, but he's playing more like a point guard. He's improved his shooting from 3-point range, nearly doubled his assist average, and he's averaging 5 steals per game.[+]
Marcus Smart This Season - Before/After Suspension
Oklahoma State forced a turnover on 31% of Kansas possessions, the second highest turnover percentage for the Jayhawks this season (36%, Florida). The Cowboys capitalized with 21 points off turnovers Saturday. Oklahoma State is 12-1 this season when scoring at least 20 points off turnovers in a game. The Cowboys held Kansas to its lowest offensive efficiency in conference play (91.4). The Jayhawks are 0-4 this season when held to an offensive efficiency below 95.[+]
*Joel Embiid totaled 19 touches offensively against Oklahoma State. Kansas' offense was significantly more efficient through Embiid.[+]
Kansas Offense through Embiid
After not making a field goal in the first half in either meeting with Kansas this season, Marcus Smart scored 20 points in the second half Saturday.[+]
Marcus Smart - This Season vs Kansas
*Smart locked down Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins in the second half. After only guarding Wiggins twice in the first half, Smart held Wiggins to 3 points on 6 second-half possessions, including 4 turnovers.
Marcus Smart has gotten off to real slow starts the last couple games. He's a combined 1-15 FG, 0-7 3-pt FG in the first half the last 2 games.
4 top 10 teams have lost already: 4 Syracuse 7 Louisville 9 Creighton 10 Saint Louis 5 Kansas visits Oklahoma State at 9 ET If the Jayhawks lose, Elias tells us it will be the first day that 5 Top Tens lost since January 18, 2003 Here's the scoreboard from that day: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/scoreboard?date=20030118
5 top 10 teams fell Saturday - all on the road From Elias: The last time 5 Top Tens lost on the same day was January 18, 2003[+]
Top 10 Teams To Lose Saturday
ESPN Stats & Information