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Oklahoma State upsets No. 3 Kansas

By
The Sports Xchange

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford scoffed at a pregame suggestion that his Cowboys had Kansas' number.

"Oh no," Ford fired back.

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The numbers, however, don't lie.

The Cowboys beat Kansas for a fourth straight season Tuesday night, this time stunning the No. 3 Jayhawks 86-67 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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Oklahoma State, the only team to beat Kansas each of the past three seasons, had lost four straight games and was in danger of falling to .500 for the season. But freshman point guard Jawun Evans struck for a game-high 22 points, with eight assists and six rebounds to carry the Cowboys to the win, Oklahoma State's third straight over the Jayhawks in Stillwater.

Guard Jeff Newberry added 13 points for the Cowboys, who hit a season-high 11 3-point shots.

Kansas point guard Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks with 14 points, while forward Perry Ellis added 13 and Devonte' Graham 10.

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Kansas made just 13 of 24 free throws.

The Cowboys improved to 10-8 overall, 2-4 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks fell to 15-3 and 4-2.

Oklahoma State surged into the lead just before halftime and went to work building on the margin, never again trailing and going up by as much as 22.

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The Cowboys had fallen behind and rallied in their previous two games, against Oklahoma and Texas, yet lost. This time, they avoided a slow start and produced a big finish.

"We are the total definition of team," said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. "The total definition. Good or bad. And tonight was great. Very good. And that comes only because of the respect we have of Kansas and their program."

All 10 Cowboys who played scored and collected at least one rebound.

"Tonight our basketball team was a pretty good basketball team," Ford said. "Tonight, it all kind of came together."

For Kansas, it was the opposite.

The Jayhawks shot just 42.1 percent from the floor; 27.3 percent from the arc. Along with the missed free throws, they were outrebounded 38-31, despite owning a major size advantage.

Kansas has now lost two of its last three, including two straight on the road.

"We capable of playing a lot better," said Jayhawks coach Bill Self. "But we're struggling right now. We're laboring. We're not playing well as a unit. We're not playing really well individually. We're inconsistent.

"Our attitude and our energy and effort, I didn't think was bad tonight. They were just better."

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Oklahoma State turned to its perimeter game to take a 43-38 halftime lead.

The Cowboys, who average 5.8 makes on 3-pointers, made seven 3s in the opening 20 minutes.

Guard Jeffrey Carroll fired in three of those and led Oklahoma State with 11 points at the half. Reserve forward Chris Oliver contributed eight, leading the Cowboys to an 18-10 edge in bench points.

Perry Ellis led Kansas with 11 points. The Jayhawks were hurt at the foul line, where they missed 7 of 15 free throws in the first half.

It was only the fourth time this season that Kansas trailed at the half, following a tight back-and-forth flow that featured 12 lead changes.

Kansas led 38-37, when Carroll and point guard Jawun Evans hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Cowboys to seize the lead.

"Guys who don't usually make shots made shots tonight and we tried to be in strong help to keep Evans out of the lane, but they were kicking it out and making shots," Graham said. "Credit to them for getting in the lane and knocking down open looks."

For the Cowboys, it was a much needed win, on the heels of four straight losses.

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"It's good for our confidence going forward," Newberry said. "We all wanted it. We had a players' meeting and we said to ourselves that we were going to come out from the beginning and we were going to play desperately. And whatever happened, happened. And we knew we were going to give it our all this game."

NOTES: Oklahoma State had enjoyed rare success against Kansas, as the only team to beat the Jayhawks each of the past three seasons. The Cowboys had won two straight in Stillwater, after knocking off then No. 1-Kansas behind Marcus Smart in Lawrence in 2013. Oklahoma State had won four of the last six meetings between the teams in Gallagher-Iba Arena. ... Kansas coach Bill Self played at Oklahoma State (1981-85) and served as an assistant there under Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton (1986-93). Self entered the game with a 14-10 coaching record against his alma mater, including a 13-7 mark while at KU. ... The previous seven meetings were decided by a total of three points, with the Jayhawks holding a 499-496 edge.

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