STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Le'Bryan Nash scored 24 points, Marcus Smart added 21 and No. 13 Oklahoma State hurt No. 9 Kansas State's chances to win the Big 12 championship by beating the Wildcats 76-70 on Saturday.
The Wildcats (25-6, 14-4 Big 12) came into the day tied with rival Kansas for the conference lead, but were left needing the Jayhawks to lose on the road at Baylor later Saturday to come away with their first conference title since 1977 in the Big Eight.
K-State led by as much as nine in the second half and was up 61-57 following Rodney McGruder's three-point play with 4:45 remaining. The Cowboys (23-7, 13-5) didn't allow another field goal for more than 4 minutes and hit 13 straight free throws during crunch time to come away with the win.
McGruder led the Wildcats with 22 points. He had a big game when the teams met in the Big 12 opener, scoring 26 of his 28 points and making all five of his 3-point attempts to lead K-State to a victory. He couldn't match that this time, connecting on only six of his 15 shots.
Thomas Gipson chipped in 15 points and Angel Rodriguez scored 10, but also struggled to a 3-for-16 outing. Kansas State allowed Oklahoma State to shoot 57 percent while making just 39 percent of its own shots, but still managed to hang in until the final minutes.
The Wildcats had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time in 12 games.
After McGruder's three-point play, Smart tied it with a jumper and a pair of free throws before Nash's driving layup gave the Cowboys the lead for good at 63-61 with 2:47 remaining. The Wildcats missed eight straight attempts during a 14-1 Oklahoma State that flipped the game in the Cowboys' favor.
Markel Brown finished with 16 points, hitting seven free throws in the final 2 minutes for OSU.
Shane Southwell and Martavious Irving hit 3-pointers to get the Wildcats going after halftime, and soon they put together a 14-1 blitz to charge into the lead. Rodriguez had two baskets and two free throws during the run, and Nino Williams made a jumper along the left baseline to put K-State up 50-41 with 13:12 left.
The Cowboys responded by pushing the pace in transition, and Nash had a two-handed slam and a pair of layups during an 11-0 comeback. Smart's three-point play off a driving runner along the right side of the lane put OSU back up 56-53 with 6:21 remaining — and fans chanted "One more year!" to the NBA prospect as he hit the free throw.
Oklahoma State led by as much as seven in the first half, going up 22-15 with 6:34 left when Smart finished an 8-0 run with a three-point play. Will Spradling fouled him as he went up for a dunk, and the ball still bounced in after Smart slammed it into the rim. K-State rallied back to get within two before the Cowboys scored the final four points of the first half to go up 36-30 at the break.