K-State stuns No. 6 Okla. St.
By ARNE GREEN
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Telegram
MANHATTAN — The Kansas State Wildcats built their identity on defense.
They required even more in their Big 12 opener and got it.
A late eight-point run, augmented by clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch, gave the Wildcats just the cushion they needed Saturday to hold off No. 6-ranked Oklahoma State, 74-71, at sold-out Bramlage Coliseum.
Freshman Marcus Foster scored 17 points and Nino Williams a season-high 15, including three free throws in the last 13.5 seconds, and OSU's Marcus Smart missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as K-State stretched its winning streak to nine games.
"It was a good win for us," said junior forward Thomas Gipson, who grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and scored eight of his 10 points in the last 5 1/2 minutes. "We called it a bar fight in the locker room.
"We feel like it was one of the toughest games we've played so far, and for us to be young and to come out and get a win against the number six team in the nation, that feels real good.
"Especially for the young guys, because now they have an extreme amount of confidence in themselves, knowing that we can beat anybody in the country if we stick to what we do on defense, get shutouts and score."
After trailing 38-37 at halftime and much of the second period, the Wildcats put together the stretch they needed, starting with a Gipson layup on a pinpoint pass from Foster with 5:20 left. Shane Southwell, who was limited to 17 minutes by early foul trouble, added two free throws, Gipson scored on an offensive rebound and Foster drove for a layup at the 3:35 mark to make it 65-60.
Smart, who was saddled with four fouls, returned after Southwell's free throws with 4:50 left, but did not score the rest of the way, missing a pair of 3-pointers and two free throws.
"Maybe Smart being out (helped), but I hope (you) give our guys credit," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. "Marcus made a couple of big play - two baskets and then a pass to Gip.
"Gip had a couple of good plays and Nino. We rebounded, we got some shutouts and we just kind of hung in there."
Oklahoma State (12-2, 0-1) was without starting center Michael Cobbins, who suffered a season-ending injury before the conference opener. And Smart, the preseason All-American point guard, picked up his fourth personal on a technical foul with 13:07 left when he slapped the backboard following a dunk.
"It was an exciting, hard-fought game with two teams that I thought played very hard," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "We gave up too much penetration, too much one-on-one, too many second-chance points and we did not make good decisions on offense on a couple of possessions. (But) Kansas State played well. Give them credit."
Oklahoma State came back to close within a points four times down the stretch, the last time on a Phil Forte 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left. But Williams, who hit the second of two free throws at 13.5 seconds, answered by making two with 5.7 on the clock.
K-State next has its first true road games of the season, facing TCU on Tuesday, then traveling to Lawrence on Saturday to take on rival Kansas.