The Associated Press
STILLWATER, Okla. — Kendall Smith scored a career-high 25 points and Mitchell Solomon had 16 points and seven rebounds to help lead Oklahoma State to an 82-64 victory over No. 6 Kansas in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday.
The Cowboys’ home fans rushed the court at the final buzzer as Oklahoma State finished the season with three wins in their final four games.
Smith, who had scored just nine points in each of his two previous outings, hit 20 for the seventh time this season and for the fifth time in the last nine contests.
Oklahoma State (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) swept the season series from Kansas, marking the first time that the Jayhawks have been swept in a home-and-home since 2003-04, a span of 103 series.
Devonte’ Graham, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, scored 15 points and had eight assists to lead the Jayhawks (24-7, 13-5), who had a five-game winning streak snapped. The Jayhawks had already secured the top seed in next week’s Big 12 Conference Tournament.
Kansas: Having already clinched the Big 12 regular-season championship, their NCAA-record 14th in a row and their 61st overall conference title, also a record, the Jayhawks perhaps didn’t start the contest with the required intensity to defeat a determined opponent, falling behind early and never having the lead all game, despite several nice runs and a strong comeback attempt that fell just short. KU still has 13 conference victories for the 13th straight season and is one away for 25 overall wins for the 13th year in a row.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys continued their pattern of playing their best against elite competition. The win leaves the Cowboys with a 5-1 record in their last six games against ranked opponents, with four of them against top 10 teams, three coming in the past month. If Oklahoma State could just figure out how to play the Big 12’s less dominant teams the same way, they could cause some serious damage at the conference tournament next week.
Kansas: As the top seed in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, the Jayhawks will face the winner of the 8-9 game in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys will play in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday.
Kansas State 77, Baylor 67: In Manhattan, Kans., Kansas State’s Dean Wade has been a standout player for the Wildcats for most of the season and has a good chance to be the first Wildcat to be named to the All-Big 12 First Team since 2013.
In the regular season finale against Baylor, Wade made a strong case and then some.
Wade scored 25 points and Barry Brown scored 18 and Kansas State beat Baylor 77-67 Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew had nothing but praise for the K-State junior.
“He (Wade) gets to the rim, knocks down 3s and knocks down jumpers. It is hard to guard him. His assist to turnover ratio in the last five games is I think 23-4,” Drew said.
For Wade, even with the spotlight on him and the team as they fight for an NCAA bid, he just wanted to break the streak of bad outings the team had encountered recently.
“We came out and just wanted to be aggressive. We have not played the greatest basketball in the past couple of games. We just wanted to come out and get back to the way we’ve been playing earlier in the Big 12 schedule,” Wade said, adding, “We just came out with a ton of energy, firing on offense and defense, so it was an all-around good game for us.”
After a back-and-forth first half, Kansas State (21-10, 10-8) used a 13-2 run over the final 5:42 of the first half for a 35-25 halftime lead. The run was capped by Wade’s fade-away basket that danced around the rim and went in as the buzzer sounded. Wade finished on 9-of-14 shooting, was 6 of 7 from the foul line and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Wildcats maintained control in the second half and extended their lead to 16 midway through the second half. Baylor (18-13, 8-10) went on a 13-2 run as Nuni Omot buried three 3-pointers and threw down a dunk and Baylor drew within 62-57 with 6:27 left but the Bears couldn’t get closer.
“They shot 52 percent against us,” Drew said.
“I thought we competed. We gave ourselves a chance to get it to five but coach Weber always does a really good job managing the game and putting them in good positions to be successful,” he said.
Omot tied a career-high 30 points on 8-of-11 shooting — including 6 of 9 from beyond the arc — and made 8 of 9 foul shots.
Baylor: The Bears finished below .500 in the conference for the first time in seven seasons.
Kansas State: The Wildcats’ 21 wins equals matching their win total from last year.
Both teams start play in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., next week.
Texas 87, No. 20 West Virginia 79 (OT): In Austin, with their season fading and their big man still on the bench with a sprained toe, the Texas Longhorns were in desperate need of a big win to bolster their NCAA Tournament hopes.
They got it Saturday with an 87-79 overtime win over No. 20 West Virginia, spurred by guards Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach II and a barrage of 3-pointers.
“We knew we were really going to have to fight,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “We also knew there was a ton on the line. We made that point … By the way, it’s not over.”
Roach and Coleman each scored 22 points and Jericho Sims added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Longhorns.
Texas (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) has struggled to gain traction or play with consistency in Smart’s third season. Missing the NCAA Tournament — Texas still isn’t guaranteed an at-large bid — would be a major blow to a program that finished last in the Big 12 last season.
“It would hurt a lot, especially after not making it last year. We have to play every game like it’s our last,” Roach said.
Texas has fought through its share of struggles. Shooting guard Andrew Jones has been out since early January after being diagnosed with leukemia. In just the last 10 days, freshman forward Mo Bamba, one of the top shot blockers in the country, injured his toe, and shooting guard Eric Davis Jr., has been held out for three games since his name surfaced in a report alleging he may have taken money from an agent representative.
Even with those players out, the worst offensive team in the Big 12 found an offensive symmetry Saturday it has lacked nearly all season. The Longhorns shot 57 percent and made 11-3 pointers, including two by Coleman and Jacob Young in the overtime.
“We can compete with anybody regardless of who we have on the team,” Roach said.
West Virginia led 48-42 early in the second half before Texas ripped off a 15-2 run keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Dylan Osetkowski, who made five in the game. The Mountaineers forced overtime on Jevon Carter’s driving reverse layup with 1.6 seconds left in regulation.
Coleman put Texas up 76-74 with a 3-pointer from the right corner and made a short jumper before Young’s 3 pointer stretched the lead to seven and the Longhorns held on the rest of the way.
Lamont West scored 15 points for West Virginia (22-9, 11-7), which had five players score in double figures.
Texas hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons since 1988, when the Longhorns were mired in a nine-year drought and Smart was 10 years old. Smart said he had to be careful about putting too much pressure on his players.
“You can’t build up this mindset in your head that if a certain game doesn’t go your way, you’re gonna jump off the top of a building,” Smart said.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers had already at least a tie for second place in the Big 12 and could have clinched the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a win. WestVirginia’s press defense was effective in the first half, but did little to disrupt Texas in the second half and overtime. The Longhorns had five turnovers in the first five minutes, then just four the rest of the game. The Mountaineers’ inability to cover the 3-pointer kept Texas in the game early and proved especially costly in overtime.
“I have backed off of this team practicewise more than maybe any team I’ve ever coached. It’s probably a terrible mistake,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “You hear so much about ‘They gotta have legs.’ We can’t shoot anyway when we do have legs. What difference does it make?”
Texas: The Longhorns are seeing a late-season emergence from Sims with Bamba out. Sims was 6 of 7, showing some power on dunks and rebounds and a deft touch with a soft sky hook. Sims’ first basket was a strong move around WVU forward Sagaba Konate for a two-handed flush in the opening minutes.
“I was trying to get revenge from the last time we played them,” Sims said. “With Mo being out, I’m trying to be more aggressive.”
Smart said Bamba, who is projected among this summer’s top picks in the NBA draft, wants to return but couldn’t say if that would be in the Big 12 tournament or the NCAA tournament if the Longhorns make it.
“We’re undermanned,” Smart said. “We’re really optimistic he’s going to play … hopefully in Kansas City,” at the Big 12 tournament, Smart said.
As impressive as Texas was shooting, the Longhorns muscled up against one of the toughest-rebounding teams in the Big 12 and won the boards 37-32. The Mountaineers dominated the Longhorns under the basket when these teams met back in January, a 35-point WVU victory
”West Virginia is a team that if you don’t stay connected, they can take your will from you,” Smart said. “We had that happen to us a month ago.”
West Virginia will play in the Big 12 Tournament
Texas will play in the Big 12 Tournament