Feb. 19, 2013
No. 14 Oklahoma State vs No. 9 Kansas
8 pm | Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Stillwater, Okla. | Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Television — ESPN2
Bob Wischusen | play-by-play
Stephen Bardo | analyst
Holly Rowe | sideline reporter
Cox (OKC) — 28
Cox (Tulsa) — 26
Suddenlink — 32
direcTV — 209
Dish — 144
AT&T U-Verse — 606
Dave Hunziker | play-by-play
John Holcomb | analyst
Satellite Radio — Sirius 91 • XM 91
It’s a battle of first-place teams as Oklahoma State hosts the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 8 pm inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2, with Bob Wischusen handling the play-by-play duties and Stephen Bardo providing color commentary. The radio broadcast will be aired via satellite radio (Sirius 91 • XM 91).
About Oklahoma State
OSU is 19-5 overall and 9-3 in Big 12 action following an 84-79 overtime victory against Oklahoma on Saturday. The Cowboys are currently on a seven-game winning streak and in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12 Conference standings. OSU is currently ranked No. 14 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today Coaches poll, and No. 13 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
Markel Brown leads OSU offensively, averaging 15.8 ppg while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Smart is second with his 14.4 ppg, while Le’Bryan Nash is chipping in 12.8 ppg. Smart leads the Pokes in assists (104) and steals (68). Philip Jurick is the team leader in rebounds, averaging 6.8 per game. Phil Forte is also averaging double figures in scoring at 11.3 points per contest and shooting 87.9 percent from the free-throw line.
The Cowboy defense is limiting its opponents to just 60.8 points per game and 38.8 percent shooting from the floor. OSU has held 17 opponents under 68 points this year, and is second in league-games only in scoring margin (+7.9 ppg) and rebounding margin (+3.7 rpg). Five Cowboys have blocked 17 or more shots this season: Jurick has 25, Michael Cobbins has 24, Brown has 20, Smart has 19 and Kamari Murphy has blocked 17 shots.
Kansas is 21-4 overall this season and 9-3 in league play and ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. The Jayhawks have won two straight after a three-game skid which started with the loss to OSU on February 2. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore leads KU with a 16.7 ppg average while shooting 43.4% from long range. Senior center Jeff Withey is averaging 13.2 ppg and a team-high 8.4 rpg. As a team, Kansas relies mostly on its defense, allowing just 60 ppg and 35.6% shooting from the floor. The Jayhawks are prone to turnovers, committing 1.1 more turnovers per game than their opponents in league play. Bill Self is in his 10th season as head coach in Lawrence with a record of 290-57. He is 497-162 overall in his 21st season as a head coach.
Cowboy Quick Hits
• OSU has defeated two top-10 teams this season, both away from Gallagher-Iba Arena (#6/6 NC State in Puerto Rico, #1/2 Kansas in Lawrence).
• Oklahoma State’s next win will be the 100th of head coach Travis Ford’s tenure in Stillwater.
• OSU’s current seven-game winning streak is tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the country.
• OSU, Indiana and Arizona are the only top-25 teams that also rank among the top 30 nationally in free-throw percentage.
• Phil Forte ranks fifth nationally for three-pointers made by a freshman.
• Marcus Smart has the most assists by any freshman on a team currently ranked in the top 25.
• Michael Cobbins has more blocked shots than any other sophomore in the Big 12 and the second-most rebounds by a league sophomore.
• Since the beginning of the 1988-89 season, the Cowboys have a 325-46 record on the white maple court, good for an .876 winning percentage.
• Oklahoma State is the only team in the Big 12 Conference that has three different players ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring and four among the top 20.
Series History vs Kansas
Kansas leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State 106-54, including a narrow 34-31 edge in games played in Stillwater. Since the Big 12 formed in 1996-97, KU is 17-7 vs the Cowboys, including a 4-2 mark in the Big 12 Championships.
OSU’s win in Lawrence earlier this season ended a four-game skid against the Jayhawks. The Cowboys have won two of the last three games in Stillwater. In fact, in Oklahoma State’s last four victories over Kansas since 2005, the Jayhawks have been ranked in the top-10 nationally.
Current Cowboys vs KU
• Markel Brown has played five games and started four in his career against Kansas. He is averaging 14 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 2.4 apg while blocking six shots and recording five steals. He is 10-of-20 from long range vs KU, including a 7-of-10 effort this year in Lawrence.
• Michael Cobbins has played and started three games vs KU, averaging 36.7 minutes per contest. He is averaging four ppg, six rpg and 2.3 blocks per game. He has recorded five steals, but is shooting just 31.6% vs the Jayhawks.
• Philip Jurick has played three games and started two against Kansas. He’s averaging 13 minutes per game and 3.7 rebounds per contest, including eight in the game in Lawrence earlier this year.
• Le’Bryan Nash has played and started two games vs Kansas. This will be his first KU game in Stillwater. Last year in Lawrence, he scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. This year in Allen Fieldhouse, he scored seven points. He’s averaging 30.5 minutes per game, nine ppg and 3.5 rpg. He is 10 of 12 from the charity stripe vs the Jayhawks.
• Christien Sager has played three minutes in two games vs Kansas.
• Brian Williams started both games last season, averaging 38.5 minutes per game. He averaged 15.5 ppg, including 20 in Stillwater. He shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 10 of 13 from the free-throw line.
Last Time vs Kansas
After establishing a big first-half lead, Oklahoma State watched it all melt away. But in one of the rare instances of a team refusing to lose at intimidating Allen Fieldhouse, Markel Brown and Marcus Smart managed to hold things together down the stretch against No. 1/2 ranked Kansas.
Together, they helped the Cowboys pull out an 85-80 victory that ended the Jayhawks’ nation-leading 18-game winning streak — and their 33-game streak at the Phog, too.
Brown finished with 28 points for the Cowboys, who hadn’t beaten a top-five team on the road since knocking off the Jayhawks on Jan. 2, 1958.
OSU stunned the Jayhawks by building a 14-point lead in the first half, but Kansas had pulled ahead 64-60 on a 3-pointer by Naadir Tharpe midway through the second half. The Jayhawks still led by six when Phil Forte hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 4:15 left to begin a 13-2 charge, allowing Oklahoma State to seize control.
Forte, an 89-percent foul shooter, made two at the line to restore a cushion, and White answered with two of his own. Smart added a free throw, and Johnson’s layup cut the Cowboys’ lead to 81-80. Forte calmly made two more free throws with 7.9 seconds remaining, and Smart forced a turnover near mid-court before Kansas could even get up a tying 3-point attempt. Forte got ahold of the ball and laid it in at the buzzer to punctuate the victory.
Moving up in the Polls
Oklahoma State is currently ranked No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, the highest ranking for the Cowboys this season. In fact, it’s the highest ranking for an OSU squad since Jan. 29, 2007, when the Pokes were ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the Coaches poll. Oklahoma State has been ranked in 10 of the 16 weekly rankings this season, including seven-straight weeks from Nov. 19-Dec. 31 and the current three-week string.
Tough at Home
Gallagher-Iba Arena is a very formidable place to play for opposing teams. Since the beginning of the 1988-89 season, the Cowboys have a 325-46 record on the white maple court, good for an .876 winning percentage. Of OSU’s last 13 losses at home, 10 have been to ranked opponents. Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, the Cowboys have eight wins over ranked opponents inside Gallagher-Iba Arena, including three victories over top-five teams (defeated fourth-ranked Kansas 61-60 on Feb. 23, 2008; defeated the top-ranked Jayhawks 85-77 on Feb. 27, 2010; and defeated No. 2 Missouri 79-72 on Jan. 25, 2012).
vs Ranked Opponents in GIA
For the second time this season, Oklahoma State will host a ranked opponent inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys lost to No. 10 Gonzaga 69-68 on Dec. 31. OSU is 25-15 (.625) over the last 15 seasons against ranked teams, including 8-8 (.500) against top-10 foes.
OSU has hosted at least one ranked opponent inside Gallagher-Iba Arena for 34 consecutive seasons. The game against Kansas will give the Cowboys two ranked foes at home for the eighth-straight year. It also marks the eighth-consecutive season that OSU has had a top-10 foe in GIA.
The Cowboys have defeated at least one ranked opponent at home in each of the past 14 seasons. Since 1989, OSU has defeated at least one ranked foe in 23 of the last 24 home slates. The Cowboys are 40-22 (.645) against ranked foes during that span in Stillwater.
More National Ranking Notes
• Oklahoma State is 10-3 as a ranked team this season. That gives the Cowboys a 317-120 (.725) all-time mark as a ranked squad.
• Oklahoma State is 2-1 this season against top-10 teams, including a 76-56 win over No. 6/6 N.C. State, a 69-68 loss to No. 10/10 Gonzaga and the 85-80 win over No. 1/2 Kansas.
• OSU is 41-103 (.285) all-time against top-10 teams, including a 3-12 (.200) mark against teams ranked No. 9 at tipoff, Kansas’ current ranking.
Oklahoma State is the only team in the Big 12 Conference that has three different players ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring and four among the top 20. Markel Brown ranks third (15.8 ppg), Marcus Smart ranks fifth (15.0 ppg), Le’Bryan Nash ranks 10th (13.3 ppg) and Phil Forte ranks 17th (11.3 ppg) in the Big 12 scoring ranks. Baylor is the only other team with two scorers ranked among the top 10, while the Bears, Kansas and Iowa State all have three in the top 20. Not surprisingly, all three of the Cowboys who rank among the league’s best scorers are also among the Big 12’s top-10 free-throw shooters (Smart ranks eighth, Nash ninth and Brown 11th in free-throw percentage).
Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 34th nationally in free-throw percentage at 74.2 percent. The next-closest team in the league is Oklahoma at 73.7 percent. Five different Cowboys are shooting better than 73 percent from the line: Phil Forte (88.3%), Marcus Smart (77.6%), Le’Bryan Nash (77.3%), Michael Cobbins (73.3%) and Markel Brown (72.8%). Oklahoma State has shot better than 74 percent as a team just seven previous times in a single season, and just twice since 1978.
Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 44th nationally in turnover margin, averaging 2.67 fewer turnovers per game than its opponents. Kansas State is second in the Big 12, also with a +2.7 turnover margin. The current turnover margin for OSU would rank sixth in school history. Oklahoma State has had a positive turnover margin greater than 2.0 just eight times in school history, including the school record +3.5 turnover margin created during the 1997-98 season.
Oklahoma State ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with a +11.4 scoring margin, trailing only the Kansas Jayhawks’ +13.4 scoring margin. OSU’s average ranks 24th nationally. The Cowboys have had a scoring margin greater than 10.0 just seven times since 1989-90, and not since 2004-05 has OSU’s scoring margin been higher than +6.3. The great scoring margin has as much to do with Oklahoma State’s offense as it does its defense. The Cowboys rank fourth in the Big 12 in both scoring offense (73.0 ppg) and scoring defense (61.5 ppg). Those numbers rank 56th and 62nd, respectively in the NCAA.
Statistically, Oklahoma State is one of the top defensive teams in the Big 12 Conference. The Cowboys rank second in steals, third in FG percentage defense, third in blocked shots, third in defensive rebound percentage, fourth in scoring defense, and fifth in defensive rebounds. The only defensive statistical category OSU doesn’t excel in is three-point FG percentage defense, where the Pokes rank seventh.
Although there are still six regular-season games remaining, this Cowboy defense ranks among the school’s best. Not since 1968-69 has an OSU squad allowed fewer than 62 points per game in a full season. This year’s team is allowing just 61.5 ppg through 24 contests. OSU has held 10 teams below 60 points this season, including three conference teams.
Keeping it Under 50
Oklahoma State has held its opponent under the half-century mark seven times this season, the most since 1962-63 when the Cowboys held 10 opponents under 50 points. The Pokes limited South Florida and Missouri State to fewer than 50 points in back-to-back games, and accomplished that same feat against UT Arlington and Tennessee Tech. Three times since 2001-02 has OSU held consecutive opponents to under 50 points, and all three have occurred in the last two seasons.
Marcus Smart has 70 steals through 24 games this season, establishing a school record by a freshman. The previous record was 67 by Byron Eaton. Smart is currently in seventh place on the OSU single-season steals list, and already owns the school record for most steals in league play with 39 (the previous record was 35 by Tony Allen).
Smart averages 2.92 thefts per game, which leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks fifth nationally. That average would be the highest in school history, ahead of Brooks Thompson’s 2.91 steal-per-game average as a senior in 1993-94, the current school record. Smart is on pace to challenge the Big 12 freshman record of 89, set by Kansas’ Mario Chalmers in 2005-06 in 33 games (2.70 spg).
With his friend since third grade leading the league in steals, it’s only appropriate that Phil Forte has decided to join the mix. The Cowboy freshman is tied for sixth in the Big 12 Conference in steals, averaging 1.46 per contest. Between the two of them, Smart and Forte have 105 steals, an average of 4.38 per game. The Baylor duo of A.J. Walton and Pierre Jackson rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Big 12, and have combined for 84 steals.
Top Sixth Man?
Phil Forte has been an instrumental part of the Cowboys’ successful play this season. Despite starting just one game this season, he sees a lot of court time. In fact, in the Big 12 Conference, he averages more minutes per game than 26 players who have started at least 50 percent of their teams’ games. He’s actually averaging more minutes per game than any player who has started for Oklahoma or Texas Tech this season, and has more minutes averaged than 11 of 12 players who have started for West Virginia. Forte is averaging more minutes per game than 62 of the 86 players who have started for any Big 12 team this season, including four on the Cowboys’ squad.
Six Cowboys are currently averaging at least 4.3 rebounds a game. Philip Jurick leads the team with 6.7 rpg, while Michael Cobbins is grabbing 5.9 rpg. Marcus Smart is averaging 5.8 rpg and Kamari Murphy is averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest. Markel Brown is also averaging 4.5 rpg, and Le’Bryan Nash is grabbing 4.3 per game.
The others were in 1996-97 and 1997-98. OSU has grabbed at least 40 rebounds in 11 of 24 games this year. Last season, the Cowboys recorded 40 or more rebounds in a game just five times. The last time OSU had at least 40 rebounds in 11 games was 2003-04 when the Pokes grabbed 40 or more boards in 13 contests. Since 1994-95, Oklahoma State has had three-consecutive games with 40 or more rebounds on only five occasions, including three times this season.
As a team, Oklahoma State is averaging 4.8 blocked shots per game, good for third in the Big 12 and 47th nationally. That average currently ranks as the fourth-highest average in school history.
Three current players also rank among the top-15 shot blockers in school history. With three deflection against Oklahoma, Michael Cobbins now has 76 career deflections, good for 10th place on the school list. He is averaging 1.46 blocks per game in his career, which ranks fifth in school history. With 25 on the season, Philip Jurick has 72 in his career and is tied for 12th place on the career blocks list, matching his teammate Markel Brown.
Cobbins ranks seventh, Jurick ranks ninth, and Brown and Marcus Smart are tied for 14th in the Big 12 for blocked shots this season.
The Stat Sheet Stuffer
Marcus Smart fills the stat sheet better than anyone else in the league. He is the only player in the Big 12 Conference who ranks among the league’s leaders statistically in all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks). Smart leads the league in steals, is fifth in scoring, sixth in assists, tied for 14th in blocked shots and 16th in rebounding. He is also sixth in minutes played, eighth in assist-turnover ratio, eighth in free-throw percentage and 14th in defensive rebounds. That’s nine different statistical categories in which he ranks among the Big 12’s top 16.
Oklahoma State will travel to Big 12 newbie West Virginia (13-13, 6-7) on Saturday, Feb. 23 for a 1 pm CT (2 pm ET) game that will be televised on ESPN2. The Cowboys will then head to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on another newcomer to the Big 12, TCU (10-15, 1-11), on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6 pm. The game will be televised by ESPNU.