In an attempt to have the fourth-straight year of a court-storming, the Cowboys played one the best games of their season against the #1 Jayhawks. The game went back and forth with the biggest point differential coming near the end of the first half at 11 but Kansas withstood a few runs late from the Cowboys to win 90-85. This was a a game of guards with Big 12 Player of the Year, Frank Mason III, and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Josh Jackson, coming out on top combining for 44 points and nine assists.
The Cowboys put up a valiant effort as they celebrated their seniors Phil Forte, who earned Big 12 honorable mention accolades, and Leyton Hammonds who combined for 23 points against the Big 12 champion. Forte finishes his career as the OSU career 3-point leader and the nation’s current top free throw shooter in 133 games as a Cowboy. Hammonds ends his time in Gallagher-Iba Arena as the only player to start every game this season and a 2-year captain.
For Oklahoma State, it enters the Big 12 tournament having won 10 of the past 13 games but losing the final two of the regular season. Even with those loses, the team has been gearing up for tournament play with Big 12 first teamer Jawun Evans leading the way scoring in double-digits in the final 12 games, including a 27 point and 15 assist game against Kansas; Evans becomes the 6th Division I player in the past five years to record a 20-point, 15 assist game. Junior Jefferey Carroll received Big 12 2nd team honors after scoring in double-digits in all but 5 games this season and being the most improved player in the Big 12 after increasing his scoring average by 9.1 points a game; Carroll ended his season as the fourth best shooter in the conference.
The big men for OSU have played well leading into the postseason as they have shutdown opposing forwards to 26 points combined in the past two games. This play will need to continue as the Cowboys could face some of the best big men in the country if they want to make a run in the Big Dance.
After entering the Big 12 tournament as a 9 seed last year, the Cowboys are poised to better their potential seed in the NCAA tournament as they enter Big 12 postseason play as a 5 seed. Their first game is Thursday at 11:30 a.m. against Iowa State. The season record is 2-0 favoring the Cyclones with the largest margin of victory being 10. Oklahoma State is expected to enter March Madness as a 7 seed, but could likely better the rank with a win against Iowa State and then playing well against the winner of Kansas vs. Oklahoma/TCU.