Oklahoma State and Oklahoma both registered their 11th win of the season on Saturday with victories over Colorado and Texas A&M, respectively. With weekend wins also by Kansas, Kansas State and TCU, the Big 12 raised its nonconference record for 2013 to 87-23.
The seventh-ranked Cowboys got a game-high 23-point performance from senior guard Markel Brown and double-digit offensive support from three other teammates to stave off upset-minded Colorado in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas. The Cowboys stretched a six-point halftime advantage to a 12-point lead in the second twenty minutes and held on from there for a 78-73 victory.
Oklahoma State shot a sizzling 52 percent from the field for the game and added 23 points from the free-throw line. The two teams combined for 55 free-throw attempts in the game.
Kansas (8-3) found a return home to Allen Fieldhouse after almost a month absence much to its liking. The young Jayhawks broke up a tight-game early, going on a 27-11 run in the final 11 minutes of the opening half and were never headed after that, pounding the visitors from Georgetown by a final count of 86-64. Senior forward Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis, and frehman Joel Embiid led Kansas in scoring, both with 17 points.
Kansas State (8-3) registered its sixth straight win, jumping on 15th-ranked Gonzaga early and holding on down the stretch for a 72-62 win in a game played in Wichita, Kan. The Wildcats played their best game of the year, committing only four turnovers for the game. The Zags took a brief one-point lead at the 10:51 mark in the second half, but K-State was equal to the challenge, handing Gonzaga its second loss of the season to go with 10 wins. Thomas Gipson and freshman Marcus Foster shared high-point honors for Kansas State, with 14 points apiece.
“Our confidence was there before the game,” Gipson said. “But as time started winding down we realized we could actually win. People came up and made plays.”
Oklahoma (11-1) had one of its poorest shooting games of the season, hitting only 39 percent of its field goal attempts, and committed a season-high 22 turnovers, but still managed to earn a relatively easy 12-point win over former Big 12 foe Texas A&M. The game was played in Houston.
It was the Sooners’ lowest point total of the season. OU is averaging 86 points a game, but got only 64 against the Aggies. The normally high-scoring Oklahoma offense relied on its defense to put away A&M, holding the Aggies to under 30 percent shooting from the floor. Freshman point guard Jordan Woodard led the Sooners in scoring with 20 points.
“We really didn’t get into the flow that we would have liked to,” Woodard said after the game. “They kind of slowed us down a little bit. It was real crazy. We really just wanted to rely on our defense, and I feel we played pretty well defensively.”
The Oklahoma victory gave the Big 12 a 7-3 record in the inaugural year of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
Texas, which earlier in the week upset 14th-ranked North Carolina on the road, held a two point halftime lead over No, 5 Michigan State on Saturday in Austin, but couldn’t hold on as the Spartans came roaring back in the second stanza to post a 92-78 victory. The Longhorns suffered a four-minute scoring drought midway through the second half, squandering the lead and allowing Michigan State to come from behind and seize control of the game. It was only Texas’ second loss of the season.
In other Big 12 games on Saturday, TCU defeated Tulsa 70-58 and Arizona State handed Texas Tech its fifth loss of the season, 76-62 in Tempe.
West Virginia lost it second straight game at home, losing by three to Purdue, 73-70 on Sunday in a game in which the Mountaineers never led after the two-minute mark in the first half.
For the week (Dec. 16-22), Big 12 teams were 10-4. The conference record against ranked teams this season is now 8-8.