Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kansas Beats Oklahoma State In Double Overtime

In a critical game for the Big 12 title race, the Kansas Jayhawks won a double overtime thriller against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 68-67. The win moves Kansas back into first place, and KU now has its sights set on a ninth consecutive league title after winning the hardest game left on its schedule.

Oklahoma State and Kansas are both top defensive teams, which was on full display last night as both failed to get anything going offensively. Kansas’ Ben McLemore struggled from the floor, but the Jayhawks once again got a strong game from point guard Elijah Johnson, who attacked the rim and took good care of the ball. For the most part, Kansas was carried by Travis Releford (18 points) and Jeff Withey (17 points).

Kansas led for almost the entire second half, and seemed on the verge of putting the game out of reach when Releford made an acrobatic layup to give Kansas a four point lead late in the game. However, Oklahoma State rallied back to force overtime, and forced a second OT when Kansas again let a lead slip away. Both teams stalled on offense, as Johnson fouled out for Kansas and star freshman Marcus Smart fouled out for Oklahoma State. At the end of the game, KU’s Naadir Tharpe got into the lane and hit a short jumper, which gave KU a one point lead. In the final seconds, Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown took a tough jumper that missed, and Releford made an acrobatic save along the sideline to prevent a dead ball and allow the clock to run out. It was a deservingly thrilling finish to the biggest game of the Big 12 season.

Kansas has a favorable home schedule remaining, as it hosts TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech – the three worst teams in the league. Kansas will face another tough test on Monday when they travel to Ames to take on a good Iowa State team. If the Jayhawks can win that one, it may be nearly impossible for KU to lose out on a ninth consecutive Big 12 title.

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