On Wednesday night, two of the best teams in the Big 12 if not the nation battled it out for the second time this season in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks defeated the 14th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, 68-67 in two overtimes. The game should be considered an instant classic. Previously this season, Kansas fell to Oklahoma State, 85-80 on Feb. 2nd.
Naadir Thorpe and Travis Releford are the heros of the game after Thorpe hit the game-winning shot with 20 seconds left, putting Kansas ahead by one and Releford stole the ball from Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte with three seconds left. Oklahoma State had taken the lead by one point after Markel Brown hit a jumper. Kansas improved to 22-4 overall and 10-3 in Big 12 conference action, while Oklahoma State fell to 19-6, and 9-4.
Kansas was led by Jeff Withey who scored 17 points along with 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Withey was huge in the two overtimes connecting on seven of eight free throws. Releford scored 18 points to go with six rebounds. Brown led Oklahoma State with 20 points,five rebounds and four assists. Marcus Smart added 16 points, and seven rebounds.
The first half went back and forth with neither team holding a lead over two points. The game was all knotted up at halftime with both teams having 26 points. The second half started out the same until Elijah Johnson canned a jumper, putting Kansas ahead by five at 36-31. Oklahoma State battled back, in grabbing the lead again at 39-38. Kansas once again stole control after McLemore hit a three-pointer putting Kansas ahead, 47-43 with 6:34 left. Oklahoma State again fought back, tying up the game at 53 with 2:34 left. Kansas once again inched to a three-point lead only to have Smart tie the game at 57 with a three-pointer with 1:15 left on the clock. Neither team scored again in regulation.
The Jayhawks failed to score a field goal in the first overtime, scoring six points thanks to free throws from Withey, and McLemore. Phil Forte nailed a huge three-pointer with one minute left, tying the game at 63, once again forcing another overtime after neither team could score again.
After avenging this loss, Kansas now gets a rematch with TCU on Saturday in Lawrence. The Horned Frogs defeated Kansas on Feb. 6th, 62-55 for their first conference win on the year. TCU hasn’t won since, including an 68-59 loss to Texas tonight.