STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Frank Martin was in disbelief that Kansas State’s lead could be slipping away in Gallagher-Iba Arena again.
He’d seen a lead fade with a series of turnovers his first time coaching in the building. A rebound bounced off one of his players’ heads to spark an Oklahoma State rally the next time he was back.
This time had a different ending.
Freshman Angel Rodriguez scored 14 points in his second start, Jamar Samuels added 12 points and 12 rebounds and No. 25 Kansas State snapped an 11-game losing streak at Gallagher-Iba by beating Oklahoma State 66-58 on Saturday.
“Every year I’ve been here, something’s happened where we’ve unraveled and K-State hasn’t won here since ‘93. You know these things,” Martin said. “I don’t tell them that.
“You sit there and you’re saying, ‘This can’t happen again.’ I was real proud of the way that they stayed the course.”
The Wildcats (14-4, 3-3 Big 12) held Oklahoma State without a made basket for a 15-minute stretch spanning halftime, building up a 46-33 lead after Will Spradling’s runner in the lane with 9:08 to play. Then, they held off a late charge as the Cowboys (9-10, 2-4) pulled within 59-56 with just over 2 minutes left.
Rodriguez and Rodney McGruder combined to make seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the Wildcats’ first win in Stillwater since 1993. It was the team’s longest losing streak in any conference venue, starting when both teams were in the Big Eight.
“We got the W in Stillwater. I’ve never won in this place, and it feels good to win,” Samuels said.
“It’s good to get a road win in the Big 12, and to be in Stillwater makes it a lot better.”
Keiton Page had 17 points on 4-for-17 shooting to lead Oklahoma State, and Markel Brown scored 14.
Brown converted a three-point play off a steal that led to a two-handed slam during a string of nine straight points for the Cowboys to get the lead down to four. Page’s 3-pointer from the left wing — Oklahoma State’s only make in 16 attempts from 3-point range — cut it to 59-56 with 2:01 remaining.
Kansas State didn’t allow another point until Page’s jumper at the buzzer, securing the victory at the foul line despite making only 23 of 40 free throws during the game.
“This is one of most intimidating places that I’ve ever coached a basketball game in,” Martin said. “The crowd, the way it sits right on top of you, it seems like the court is smaller because everything is so congested there.
“It’s awesome. I mean, it’s incredible.”
McGruder, who had been averaging 22.7 points over the previous seven games, finished with 14. The Wildcats had a 50-29 rebounding advantage while playing without top shot blocker Jordan Henriquez, who was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
There were 52 fouls called in a physical game, and Cowboys coach Travis Ford — who earned a technical foul late in the first half — suggested there could have been 102.
“That was a wild deal, that game. That takes the game back,” Ford said. “Good grief.”
Ford said he spent the two days before the game marveling at how roughly Kansas State’s previous game against Texas had been and feeling grateful his team hadn’t played in it — until the Cowboys’ turn ended up much the same.
“That’s going to be a tough night for us when it’s played like that,” Ford said. “This time next year, we’ll be able to battle — when these guys get a little bigger and stronger and we get other players back.”
Both teams entered the day stacked up in a four-way tie for fifth place in the conference, along with Texas and Oklahoma.
Kansas State charged ahead to stay with a 13-0 run midway through the first half, getting the first 11 points in a 40-second span. Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to get it started, and the Wildcats didn’t even have to go back across midcourt to score the next eight.
Rodriguez stole a backdoor pass and got fouled while converting a fast-break layup. He missed the free throw but the rebound went out of bounds to Kansas State, and Thomas Gipson scored underneath also while getting fouled. He, too, missed the free throw and Samuels tipped it in. An Oklahoma State turnover on the inbounds play led to another bucket by Gipson underneath.
The Cowboys finally crossed the center line before Gipson’s hook shot made it 21-11 with 10:34 left before halftime.
Michael Cobbins led Oklahoma State back, converting a pair of three-point plays during a 10-0 response. The second, off of a two-handed dunk of LeBryan Nash’s alley-oop, got the Cowboys back within 24-23 with 3:58 to go before the half.
The Cowboys then missed their final three shots of the first half and 10 straight to start the second half.
Brown finally snapped the drought with a layup that led to a three-point play with 8:57 remaining, and the Cowboys were still within striking distance down 46-36 but never could overcome the deficit.
“Defense is always the most important thing in our team. That’s how we play,” Rodriguez said. “We knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy game here. We took the challenge, we stepped up and played good ‘D’ and it gave us a win.”
At Stillwater, Okla.
No. 25 KANSAS ST. 66, OKLAHOMA ST. 58
KANSAS ST. (14-4)
Samuels 3-9 6-10 12, Gipson 3-5 0-1 6, Rodriguez 3-8 6-11 14, McGruder 5-13 3-4 14, Spradling 1-5 6-8 8, Southwell 0-1 0-0 0, Irving 2-4 2-2 6, Ojeleye 1-4 0-0 2, Diaz 2-5 0-4 4, Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 23-40 66.
OKLAHOMA ST. (9-10)
Nash 1-4 2-2 4, Cobbins 3-4 2-3 8, B. Williams 2-7 5-6 9, Page 4-17 8-9 17, Brown 3-9 8-9 14, Guerrero 3-5 0-0 6, Soucek 0-0 0-0 0, Sager 0-0 0-0 0, George 0-0 0-0 0, Jurick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 25-29 58.
Halftime — Kansas St. 31-24. Three-point goals — Kansas St. 3-14 (Rodriguez 2-4, McGruder 1-3, Irving 0-1, Southwell 0-1, Jones 0-1, Spradling 0-2, Samuels 0-2), Oklahoma St. 1-16 (Page 1-9, Brown 0-1, Nash 0-2, B. Williams 0-4). Fouled out — Brown, Gipson, Guerrero, B. Williams. Rebounds — Kansas St. 50 (Samuels 12), Oklahoma St. 29 (Cobbins 8). Assists — Kansas St. 6 (Rodriguez 3), Oklahoma St. 8 (Guerrero, Nash, Page 2). Total fouls — Kansas St. 23, Oklahoma St. 28. Technicals — Gipson, Oklahoma St. Bench. A — 10,338.