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They call'em big shot Na
Bill Self fist-pumped and hip-thrusted at the same time; it is safe to say he enjoys winning at Oklahoma State.
KU!!!!!! Oh yeah!!!!!!
Things we can count on…sun rises in the east,sets in the West, and KU winning the Big 12 - great game
I'm doing a backflip in my mind.
Forget the detour. The road to Big 12 Title still goes through Lawrence.
OSU got homered at home but didn't help itself with horrid offense
Lotsa of gripes on officiating. But fouls were 22 (OSU) 21, and FTAs were 31 (OSU), 27.
KU doesn't get gifts from refs. Crunched the numbers the last two years. It's a myth. If they did, I'd be the one to say it...
19th straight year KU has won at least 10 conference games #kubball
Another easy win! Awesome! Congrats! Get home safely!
Good win tonight men #JayhawkBrothers
Travis Releford made good on this week’s promise.
After outlasting Oklahoma State 68-67 in two thrilling overtimes, neither the Kansas guard nor any of his teammates did backflips. And, as he predicted they would, the Jayhawks walked out of a sold-out Gallagher-Iba Arena in style -- once again in command of the Big 12 Conference race.
"[Revenge] played a little bit of a factor,” Releford said, “but our main goal is to just win the Big 12.”
Kansas made progress toward both, redressing its home loss to Oklahoma State earlier this season while hopping into the driver’s seat of the Big 12 title chase. The Jayhawks moved one game ahead of the Cowboys atop the Big 12 standings along with Kansas State, a team they have already swept.
Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe sank a mid-range floater with 15 seconds to play -- the Jayhawks' only field goal in either overtime – that proved to be the game-winning basket. Oklahoma State, playing the final two-plus minutes without standout guard Marcus Smart (fouled out), could not get off a good shot on its final possession.
"Dude just went in and made a tough shot … " Smart said. "It was difficult not being out there. I felt I let my teammates down."
The game could not have been much closer. There were 16 ties, 23 lead changes, and the largest lead by either team was Kansas' five-point advantage in the second half.
And the same could be said of a conference race that remains competitive in a top-heavy league that could send as many as six teams to the NCAA tournament. Entering Wednesday night's games, the top six teams in the Big 12 standings were separated by 2.5 games. No Big 12 season has finished with the top six teams separated by two games or fewer.
…Nearly a dozen NBA scouts had turned out to watch two of the premier players in the nation. But the freshmen, both projected to be lottery draft picks if they choose to leave school after this season, combined to shoot 0-for-13 from the field in the first half.
Neither scored a field goal in the game until McLemore's follow-up dunk with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Smart was held in check in almost every way except at the free-throw line, where he made 11 of 14 shots. (Smart was 2 of 14 from the field.)
…Oklahoma State, which lost at home to Gonzaga on Dec. 31, has now lost two games at home this season, both by a point. Regardless of how the Big 12 race turns out, Oklahoma State is hoping to see Kansas again, next time in the Big 12 tournament.
"Can't wait for it," Smart said. "We definitely can't wait for another shot at them."
Tharpe had the ball in his hands because Elijah Johnson, KU’s starting point guard, had fouled out in the first overtime. Somewhat miraculously, the Jayhawks trailed by only a point despite going without a field goal since the closing minutes of regulation. With the shot clocking ticking down, Tharpe dribbled left, spun right and gave the Jayhawks the lead with the biggest shot of his KU career.
“At the end of the shot clock, there’s a simple play that we always run,” Tharpe said. “It’s called ‘flat.’ Coach told me to just go and take him. I missed some easy shots early in the game, but for some reason as soon as it left my hand I knew it was good.”
The Jayhawks still had to play 18 seconds of defense. Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown launched a quick turnaround jumper, and Phil Forte tried to deflect the rebound off of KU’s Travis Releford. Releford alertly dodged, then tipped the ball deep in the backcourt to burn the final few seconds off of the clock.
“Travis made an unbelievable play,” said Self, who punched the air and wrapped Releford in a bear hug after the buzzer. “The ball would have been off of Travis and they would have had a last-second shot, but somehow or another he was able to bat that ball forward. It was an unbelievable play.”
Bill Self raced over to the man of the hour, the hero of the game, Naadir Tharpe, and wrapped his arms around the 5-foot-11 point guard, giving him a heck of a hug after Kansas University’s 68-67 double-overtime victory over Oklahoma State on Wednesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“Coach just said, ‘You hit the game-winner,’” Tharpe said, smiling after his 7-footer in the lane with 16.5 ticks left in double OT pushed the Jayhawks (22-4, 10-3) into a tie for first place in the Big 12 Conference with Kansas State. Oklahoma State, which beat KU, 85-80, on Feb. 2 in Lawrence, fell to 9-4.
“A lot of people don’t believe in me. (Self) does,” added Tharpe, who ran the show exclusively after Elijah Johnson fouled out in the first overtime.
…Regulation ended tied when Smart missed a deep fadeaway from three. The first overtime ended when Releford missed a driving shot with :03 left, and Smart missed a deep heave. Self said he thought Releford was fouled, “But it worked out OK. He made a great move but didn’t get the call.”
Smart actually heaved a three-quarter-court shot that almost broke the tie after one OT, barely missing.
“That was more like fourth-fifths-court,” Self said. “That shocked me. There were three seconds left, and he just shoots it.”
The superstars ordained as NBA players before they step foot on a college campus dominate headlines and mock drafts, but there still is a place for seniors in college basketball. And that place late Wednesday night was Gallagher-Iba Arena, where two exhausted men stood in the winner’s circle after a heavyweight basketball game that couldn’t be settled until two extra rounds were fought.
Fifth-year Kansas seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford can’t match teammate Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State’s wide-body freshman point guard Marcus Smart for talent and future earnings, but once the final of four buzzers sounded on a classic (warts and all) double-overtime game, there was no question who deserved the most credit for holding together KU’s push for a ninth consecutive Big 12 title.
Releford played 48 minutes and still he had enough fumes in his engine to race down a ball about to go out of bounds and to Oklahoma State, giving the Cowboys one more shot at winning the game. He got to it and batted it forward to teammate Ben McLemore, and the game was over. Finally. Both teams exerted such effort and played such determined defense it hardly seemed fair that one had to walk away with a loss.
Kansas 68, Oklahoma State 67 in double-overtime won’t soon be forgotten, and all the little things and big ones Releford and Withey did to compensate for a choppy offensive night from both teams were much appreciated by the coach who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is about his team.
…“Go 1-for-11 from three and 17-of-27 from the line and have five assists,” Self said. “... That’s a remedy for getting blown out on the road against a good team. Somehow, our guys just figured out a way. That was a tough win for us. Guys showed a lot of heart.”
Don’t bother comparing schedules. Kansas became the favorite to win the conference, and it has its seniors to thank for that.
“This is probably as excited as I’ve been coaching in a game in a while,” Self said after sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe’s shot in the lane gave the Jayhawks a 68-67 decision.
“I definitely was more animated with the officials tonight, but I’ll be honest, I look forward to watching tape. I think I could have been more (animated), to be honest.”
…Senior Jeff Withey calmly sank 11 of 14 free throws on a night every charity was needed.
“I was pretty proud. I was a good free-throw shooter last year and made them tonight. I got my groove back a bit. It was easy to knock them down,” Withey said.
…Rio Adams’ official Twitter account exploded with some negative posts about his situation at KU around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Self spoke to the Journal-World about the tweets after Wednesday’s win at OSU.
“He is frustrated,” Self said of the player who has not played much this season. “He didn’t have a great shootaround today. I talked to him about it (tweets). I’m disappointed he’d say (tweet) anything negative. He will not be doing anything negative in the future or he won’t be around. I read them. They were not the best in the world; they were not the worst, either.”
LJW Rankings: Travis Releford comes through with crucial plays
With Kansas’ offense stagnant for most of the night, the Jayhawks got a key lift from senior center Jeff Withey, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds and made 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.
“We just kind of puttered around,” Self said. “And we just decided we’re gonna throw the ball inside, and Jeff would get fouled and that’s what happened.”
Naadir Tharpe pushed through a doorway, emerging into a front lobby at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The time pushed past 11:30 p.m on Wednesday night. Decked out in a sweat suit and a backward hat, he carried a large pizza in one arm and tried to maneuver through a crowd of fans.
He didn’t make it far. A young girl wanted a photo. The pizza would have to wait.
Nearly 30 minutes earlier, Tharpe had swished an off-balance jumper with 16.5 seconds left, helping the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks escape town with a hard-earned 68-67 victory over No. 14 Oklahoma State in double overtime.
The victory had pulled Kansas (22-4 and 10-3 in the Big 12) even with Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings, and avenged a home loss to Oklahoma State on Feb. 2 at Allen Fieldhouse. It was also just prologue for this postgame scene, away from the stunned silence of a packed arena.
“That’s the biggest play you’ve ever made in your life,” Kansas coach Bill Self would say, standing in front of his reserve point guard.
“And it was,” Self would say later.
By the end, Tharpe’s shot was the decisive moment in a night full of drama, a game that struck the balance of epic and ugly. There had been 23 lead changes and 16 ties, marquee players fouling out, and title implications on the line. It was, in the instant sense, a Big 12 classic.
“It’s a huge win for conference implications,” Self said. “I really thought that Oklahoma State had the best path. And for us … I’m not saying we couldn’t have won it.
“Maybe (we) could have got a piece of it with some help. But now, we still probably have the toughest road, but we’re still in the game.”
…When it was over, Tharpe walked slowly through the lobby at Gallagher-Iba. The Jayhawks were hustling to beat the impending winter storm that was set to rock the Midwest. But Tharpe stopped for a moment, an unassuming figure amongst the crowd.
“A lot of people tell me it’s a big-time shot,” Tharpe said. “I’m still disappointed in previous plays. But at the end of the day, we won the game. That’s what we came here to do.”
“Foul shooting was probably the difference in overtime,” Ford said. “Seemed like every time I turned around they were on the foul line. And we didn’t make ours. They made theirs down the stretch. That made a big difference.”
The magic was over. We’ll see if the same is true of OSU’s Big 12 title hopes.
The Cowboys lost to Kansas 68-67 Wednesday night in double overtime, more a battle of attrition than an instant classic, but either way, the verdict was the same.
For the third straight February home game, OSU flirted with last-second drama. You can only come out on top of such circumstances so many times.
The last-minute heroics the Cowboys owned against Baylor and OU went the Jayhawks’ way. Kansas, without a field goal in either overtime until Naadir Tharpe’s short jumper with 17 seconds left, retook command of the Big 12 race.
“Hard pill to swallow,” said Brown. “This game could have gone either way.”
Remarkable game, really. Not necessarily well played, though fiercely contested.
KU’s biggest lead was five. OSU’s biggest lead was three. The game had 16 ties and 23 lead changes. In 50 minutes of game action, in only 3:30 was it not a one-possession game.
You thought this might be one of the most memorable OSU-KU nights in Gallagher-Iba history. Like 1957, when Mel Wright hit the jumper that felled Wilt Chamberlain. Or 1995, when Big Country went for 33 points and 20 rebounds.
And when the Cowboys fought back from a four-point deficit in the final two minutes and had possession in a tie game in the final 30 seconds of regulation, this game seemed destined to join them.
But freshman phenom Marcus Smart dribbled out most of the shot clock, then was forced to take a running, fallaway shot that didn’t come close. Bad, bad possession, in a crucial part of the game.
OSU coach Travis Ford said the Cowboys had a variety of options set to go with six seconds left, but Ford credited KU center Jeff Withey with disrupting the play. Withey, hedging against a screen, kept Smart penned in.
“Give them credit,” Ford said. “Their defense was good.”
OSU's schedule should be favorable down the stretch. It goes to West Virginia and TCU before coming home next week for Texas. Then, it has a tough two-game stretch the last week of the season - a trip to Iowa State and back to Stillwater for a potential huge game with Kansas State that could have much to do with the eventual regular season Big 12 champ.
Kansas had a huge edge in experience.
The Jayhawks do start four seniors but it is the kind of experience they have that matters.
Less than a year ago, KU was playing in the national championship game.
In other words, another regular-season showdown is something these Jayhawks should embrace. As Self said before this game, Kansas has thrived in the spotlight in recent years. These guys know how to play in the bright lights of the national stage.
The trip to OSU was the second time in three games the Jayhawks played an opponent with first place in the Big 12 on the line.
A week ago, the Hawks hammered Kansas State in Lawrence to grab a share of the Big 12 lead.
The Cowboys appear to be larger than anything left on the Kansas schedule.
The Jayhawks still have a dangerous trip to Iowa State left on the schedule and a trip to Baylor. However, it gets TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech at home.
It would appear the Jayhawks have only one possible loss left.
Here’s what Kansas learned: that after not connecting on a field goal for nearly ten minutes, every shot looks good if it goes in.
And in that case, Naadir Tharpe took the most gorgeous shot of the season.
With the Jayhawks down by two and twenty seconds remaining, Tharpe grabbed control of the ball at the top of key and began rolling to his left.
It wasn’t the ideal scenario, but Elijah Johnson fouled out midway through the first overtime and Kansas coach Bill Self had no choice but to hand over his offense to the sophomore backup.
As Tharpe began rolling towards the paint, the Cowboys moved in to trap him, but Tharpe wouldn’t have it. He spun around his defenders, launching himself immediately into the air, contorting his body perfectly and releasing a teardrop shot from just inside the lane.
Even though the result was the most important thing to the Jayhawks, there were other positive omens from the game.
Johnson, who struggled terribly from the field during Kansas' three-game losing streak earlier this month, scored an efficient 10 points and got to the rim consistently. Withey and Releford also delivered as seniors should in big games, the big man delivering 17 points and 14 boards and the wing scoring a team-high 18 points on only 10 shots.
Best of all Kansas survived an off night from star freshman Ben McLemore by playing sound defense, limiting Oklahoma State to only 32.8 percent shooting from the floor. Smart got to the foul line consistently but shot only 2 of 14 from the field, while Le'Bryan Nash didn't score a basket after halftime.
Considering Kansas is done with both Kansas State and Oklahoma State and has three of its final five games at home, the Jayhawks' chances of extending their Big 12 title streak look promising. Road games at Iowa State and Baylor are probably the trickiest tests left, though nothing is a sure thing with a team that stunningly lost at TCU earlier this month in one of the season's biggest upsets.
If Kansas does capture another conference title, Wednesday night's victory will be one of the games that turned things in the Jayhawks' favor. And at the pivotal moment, it was the oft-criticized Tharpe who came through.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford kicked off his halftime interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe with an honest admission: “Offensive rebounds early killed us.”
It was very true for the Cowboys. From the other sideline, that wasn’t such a bad thing.
Travis Releford scored Kansas’ first two points on a put-back of a Jeff Withey miss. The Jayhawks’ next four points came in much the same fashion, too, with Kevin Young grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring on the put-back. Kansas earned two more first-half points off an offensive rebound when Jamari Traylor threw down a massive tip dunk.
The Jayhawks are still finding their way this season, and Bill Self’s team isn’t consistent enough offensively to survive without those extra possessions—offensive rebounds—and the points that are created from those smart plays.
TSN (Video highlights at the link)
I spent most ofthe night on Twitter lamenting the game being played by Kansas sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe. I questioned his shot selection, his passing, his defense, his hair, his sneakers.
But it was Tharpe who had the last laugh by making KU’s last shot in a 68-67, double-overtime win against Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
I’m in disbelief.
Tharpe was so bad in the second half that Kansas coach Bill Self chose not to have him in the game during the first overtime. But when Elijah Johnson fouled out toward the end of the first OT, Tharpe was back.
And he wasn’t good.
But when the Jayhawks needed someone to step up and make a shot – something no KU player had done in either overtime, believe it or not – Tharpe came through. His spin move inside the lane resulted in the go-ahead basket with about 10 seconds left and the Jayhawks’ defense, led by Travis Releford, made a last stand to preserve the win.
…Imagine McLemore with Tharpe’s conscience, or lack thereof.
I’ll give Tharpe this: He’s fearless.
As Tharpe wheeled and dealed on KU’s final possession, looking to create a shot, I imagined KU fans standing up, pulling their hair and screaming at him to pass the basketball. As he let the shot fly, I imagined a very different Lawrence than the one that will still stand today.
Tharpe had been 1 for 10 before taking that huge shot. Someplace, someone convinced Tharpe he was a tremendous shooter. And whoever that was should have a prominent place in American government because he/she is a power persuader.
But Tharpe’s shot was good. And it was one heck of a shot, too.
There was a doghouse being constructed somewhere in which he would have lived for the rest of his life had the shot missed. But it didn’t. It really didn’t.
Tharpe’s confidence in himself should be a lesson for every young person in America. Keep shooting, even when everyone tells you not to. Be confident in yourself, even when others aren’t. Take control, even as panic sets in amongst a fan base.
If you’ve watched Kansas play this season, you know Tharpe didn’t just roll out this incredible self-assured attitude tonight. He’s had it all season. And it has served him well in several games in which he has performed well.
But performing well isn’t a prerequisite to Sharp’s self-confidence, as was evidenced with his play tonight. He’s a believer, whether we are or not.
While we’re patting people on the back, let’s give one to KU coach Bill Self, who has stuck with Tharpe through thick and thin. It’s not really like he’s had a choice because of the thinness of the Jayhawks’ backcourt.
Tharpe rewarded him with a big-time, game-winning shot. Instead of being toast, Tharpe is the toast of Lawrence. KU fans might have to swallow hard, but they have to love the kid.
Wichita Eagle Lutz
Since last week, Kansas beat the snot out of a Texas team that some thought might challenge them because the Longhorns have Myck Kabongo back from suspension and then released a not-as-bad-as-I-expected Harlem Shake video. I think it's fair to say the Jayhawks have their mojo back.
The video already has almost 2 million views, but I'm guessing that most of these views come from people watching it a second, third, and 97th time so they can look for something different every time. I've seen it probably 30 times now, and my advice for first-time viewers is this: Pay attention to the white guy in the back left corner, who surprisingly isn't Jeff Withey.
I'm not sure about Kansas's chances of winning the national title, but I know this much: No team in college basketball is having more fun this season than the Jayhawks.
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