No. 1 Oklahoma goes cold, falls at Kansas State as Big 12 race tightens

Kansas State, with no apparent NCAA tournament bid in sight and just two wins at the midpoint of the conference season, pulled together for the biggest win of the year in the Octagon of Doom, knocking off No. 1 Oklahoma, 80-69.

It was the first win against a No. 1 team for Kansas State since defeating Kansas in February 2011. The ESPN broadcast noted that the security team practiced a court-storming procedure before the game and they needed it after the upset was official.

National Player of the Year favorite Buddy Hield was limited early in the game, only breaking into double figures in the second half — Hield finished with 23 points — and double-digit scorer Jordan Woodard was held scoreless. Oklahoma entered the game as the nation’s best 3-point shooting team, but went ice cold from behind the arc, hitting just 6 of 24 shots.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, got a huge performances from Dean Wade (17 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Wesley Iwundu (21 points, seven assists). Bruce Weber’s team has been solid on defense through the year and a portion of the Sooners’ shooting woes should be attributed to K-State’s effort on that end.

It was a choppy game down the stretch set to be decided at the free-throw line, but the game was decided when Isaiah Cousins’ poor reaction to a personal foul resulted in a technical foul with 1:05 to play and sealed the Sooners’ fate.

The loss drops Oklahoma to 7-3 in Big 12 play and while falling from the No. 1 spot in the polls is the headline, the Sooners’ spot in the league standings is just as important. After all, Oklahoma is considered the biggest obstacle for Kansas’ efforts to claim an unprecedented 12th straight Big 12 title and now the two teams have the exact same conference record.

Oklahoma and Kansas will rematch their instant-classic triple-overtime game, a Kansas victory which saw Buddy Hield put up 46 points, next Saturday in Norman.

With North Carolina’s loss just an hour later, Saturday marks the seventh time ever that No. 1 and No. 2 lost on the same day. It’s the first time since 2013 (Kansas had a rare home loss to Oklahoma State and Michigan lost at Indiana on Feb. 2) and the first time No. 1 and No. 2 have lost to unranked teams on the same day since January 21, 2006 (No. 1 Duke lost at Georgetown and No. 2 Florida lost at Tennessee).

Buddy Hield and Oklahoma struggled to score from outside at Kansas State. (USATSI)


Source link

Leave a Comment