Wiggins scores 30 points as No. 10 Jayhawks beat Cowboys 77-70 in overtime in Big 12 tourney
Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 06:45 pm
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Andrew Wiggins gathered the ball along the baseline with about a minute left in regulation, turned around and put up the kind of fade-away jumper that will soon make him millions.
When it splashed through the net, his teammates on the Kansas bench leaped to their feet.
Energized by the clutch play of their talented freshman, the No. 10 Jayhawks held on to force overtime, then pulled away for a 77-70 victory over Oklahoma State on Wednesday that earned them a spot in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
"My shot was falling the whole game," said Wiggins, a Vaughan, Ont., native who finished with 30 points. "They cut off the base line, and step-back is one of my main moves, and it just fell through."
Wayne Selden Jr. added 14 points, and Naadir Tharpe made four foul shots in the extra session to seal the win for the top-seeded Jayhawks. They advanced to face fourth-seeded Iowa State, a 91-85 winner of fifth-seeded Kansas State, on Friday night.
"It was an unbelievable game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Two teams competing hard."
Phil Forte briefly gave the Cowboys a 70-68 lead with a 3-pointer a minute into overtime, but the Jayhawks (24-8) scored the final nine points, all but two at the foul line.
Le'Bryan Nash scored 19 points to lead the No. 8 seed Cowboys (21-12). Forte added 16 points and Marcus Smart finished with 14, though he missed all three of his shots in overtime.
"It's always hard to beat Kansas, especially in this building," Smart said. "They have the fanbase to back them up. It's kind of hard. They have the energy and momentum from their fans and it kind of takes the opposing team out of it."
Both teams had chances to earn the win in regulation.
After Wiggins hit his jumper to knot the game 67-all, Cowboys coach Travis Ford decided against going 2-for-1 on possessions, and Smart missed a 3 with 32 seconds left.
The Jayhawks got the rebound and called timeout with 16 seconds left, and set up a play for Wiggins, who missed a tightly guarded 3 with a few ticks left on the lock. Tarik Black gathered in the rebound and stuck it back, but the basket came after time had expired.
Black got extended minutes in place of Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks' 7-foot freshman centre, who has been ruled out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back. Black finished with seven points and 12 rebounds, including a couple with the game in the balance.
Now, the Jayhawks will try to beat Iowa State for the third time this season.
"Kansas is a team that you've already played twice," Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We know everybody. Everybody knows us."
The Cowboys, who had to play a matinee after dispatching Texas Tech on Wednesday night, didn't look as if they were weary in the first half. They actually pulled out to an early lead, silencing a heavily pro-Kansas crowd that had packed inside the Sprint Center.
Kansas responded by taking a 32-23 lead into halftime, and then maintained its advantage early in the second half. But once Black and fellow forward Perry Ellis picked up their fourth fouls, the Cowboys started shredding the Kansas defence by driving the lane.
Smart proved to be the most adept at it, picking up fouls when he wasn't hammered on the way to the rim. But just about everyone wearing black and orange got into the act, and Oklahoma State methodically trimmed the lead to 55-49 with about 8 minutes to go.
That's when Ford changed things up by slapping on a full-court press. It produced two quick turnovers and helped Oklahoma State take a 60-59 lead with 4 minutes left.
It was the Cowboys' first lead since the 12-minute mark in the first half.
The two teams, who each won on their home floor during the regular season, traded blows down the stretch. Selden made a couple free throws for Kansas, Forte answered with two from the foul line for Oklahoma State. Black and Wiggins threw down alley-oop dunks for the Jayhawks, and Murphy hit a pair of free throws and Markel Brown hit a rainbow 3 to give the Cowboys the lead.
It just made sense that such a nip-and-tuck game would be decided in overtime.
"They made some big shots down the stretch," Ford said. "Wiggins made a big shot in the corner — he played a heck of a game. They're just a heck of a basketball team, but our guys played hard. We just didn't have anything left in the tank at the end."