The Kansas Jayhawks (24-8, 14-4) needed extra time to send the Oklahoma State Cowboys (21-12, 8-10) home for the rest of the Big 12 Tournament, finally winning 77-70. Tarik Black‘s offensive rebound and put back at the end of regulation was a fraction of a second late, forcing the game into overtime.
Andrew Wiggins once again carried the Jayhawks offensively by scoring 30 points, and pulling down 8 rebounds, though he did turn it over 5 times. Wayne Selden, Jr. was the only other Jayhawk in double figures scoring with 14. Tarik Black pulled down 12 rebounds in the contest.
The Jayhawks forced just 5 turnovers in the 45 minutes of play, but they held the Cowboys to just 37.9% shooting from the field, and 28.6% from behind the arc. Kansas also dominated the backboards, pulling down 48 rebounds to Oklahoma State’s 30.
Kansas played fairly well in the first half against a Cowboys team that started off a bit flat. The Jayhawks had a solid 9-point lead going into halftime, but appeared unprepared for a more aggressive Oklahoma State squad in the second half.
The Jayhawks allowed the Cowboys to steadily cut into their lead, relying almost solely upon Wiggins for offense. The Cowboys even took the lead a few times down the stretch before the game eventually went to extra time.
Kansas dominated the overtime period, out scoring Oklahoma State, 10-3.
Kansas overcame the loss of center Joel Embiid, and almost constant foul trouble by starter Perry Ellis, who finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes. Embiid is unavailable for the rest of the tournament due to a stress fracture in the loser back.
Kansas will need to guard the perimeter better against the none-too-shy-from-three Iowa State Cyclones, who beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 91-85 in an early Big 12 quarterfinal, in another tight contest. The Cyclones play a game much more to the Jayhawks’ liking, but if Iowa State is allowed to roam free from three -point range, and if they get hot, they can make it a long day for the Jayhawks.
The Oklahoma State match up was a very worrisome one, with or without Embiid, but the Kansas Jayhawks were able to survive. This offense needs to be very careful about relying on Andrew Wiggins so much on offense.
While it is terrific to see Wiggins be more aggressive, and be able to carry his team to victory, Kansas needs to get more from the likes of Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe, and Wayne Selden, Jr. Wiggins has averaged 35.5 points in the last two games, but there needs to be much more balance.
Friday’s game with the Cyclones should be an exciting one but Kansas needs to apply much more pressure on defense, and more execution on offense to win.