Ochai Agbaji OK St

Kansas men's basketball failed to execute in the final minute against Oklahoma State Tuesday.

Kansas men’s basketball was handed its largest in-game deficit of the season (16 points) against Oklahoma State, leading to a 75-70 road loss to the Cowboys Tuesday night. 

After trailing 46-35 at halftime, the biggest gap at the break this year for Kansas, a 21-2 run late in the game gave the Jayhawks their first lead since the 12:32-mark in the first half. It was all for nothing, though, as Kansas failed to execute in the closing minute of the game, resulting in the win for Oklahoma State. 

“We didn’t really have our best first half, but in the second half we just tried to stay in there and make plays and keep chipping away at their lead,” junior guard Ochai Agbaji said after the game. “We just need to finish [the game] off.” 

After a phenomenal post jump shot from junior forward David McCormack, Kansas finally grabbed the lead at 70-67. Then, Oklahoma State junior guard Isaac Likekele drilled a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game back up. 

On the following possession, Kansas failed to convert offensively. Senior guard Marcus Garrett was able to drive the lane and, even though he beat his man off the dribble, Oklahoma State freshman phenom Cade Cunningham was there to block the shot. 

Cunningham then made a ridiculously athletic save and found senior guard Bryce Williams, who passed ahead to freshman guard Rondel Walker for a layup. Walker made the basket and was fouled by Enaruna, resulting in a three-point play. 

“You can’t give up an and-1 at game point,” Self said after the game. “If that’s a two-point game instead of a three-point game, then we're playing two-for-one and it has a totally different feel to it.”

Kansas still had the ball with 38 seconds on the clock down 73-70 with an opportunity to tie the game. However, after what looked like a very scrambled possession, Garrett threw up a deep three-point attempt and missed. 

Oklahoma State chased down the rebound and called timeout. Williams missed the front end of a key 1-and-1, giving the ball back to Kansas with 16 seconds on the clock.

After the Cowboys gave a foul, Kansas inbounded with 12.3 seconds left for its last chance at tying the game. Agbaji inbounded and was wide open deep beyond the arc, but missed the three. He then grabbed his own miss and threw up a wild shot at the basket with time still on the clock.

Luckily for Kansas, the ball went out of bounds off Oklahoma State. 

“The first [shot], I felt like that was close. The second one I realized that I had more time,” Agbaji said. “I kind of floated that up there, thinking I had less time on the clock. I could have set my feet and actually gotten a better second shot off, and I know that.”

Kansas then had one last look at the basket with 4.2 seconds on the clock, but Garrett made a costly mistake, turning the ball over on the inbound pass. This gave Oklahoma State another fast break opportunity, resulting in an emphatic dunk to close out the game. 

“We had a situation where we were going to get two possessions and they were going to get one to end the game,” Self said. “Obviously, both of our possessions led to layups for them. We didn’t deserve to win, but certainly we put ourselves in a position to where we could have won."

The Jayhawks allowed a whopping 37 points to the Cowboys in transition, including the last two baskets. Kansas also struggled to defend Oklahoma State until they switched to different zone defenses in the second half. 

McCormack showed out with an impressive 24 points and 12 rebounds. Agbaji followed with 14 points and Garrett finished with 12 points.  Redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson and sophomore guard Chrsitian Braun struggled for the second straight-game with just 11 combined points on 5-for-14 shooting. 

Kansas will look to bounce back from this loss at home against Iowa State Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.