Oklahoma State 73, West Virginia 57
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the shot clock running down, Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash badly missed a desperation 3-pointer in front of West Virginia’s student section, only to have teammate Brian Williams there all alone under the basket to tip in the errant shot.
It seemed like No. 14 Oklahoma State had an answer to every challenge Saturday. The Cowboys overcame a terrible start and Marcus Smart’s early foul trouble with a strong second half to beat the cold-shooting Mountaineers 73-57.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
What was beautiful from the Cowboys’ perspective was teammates helping out teammates three days after a double-overtime loss to No. 9 Kansas.
“It was good to bounce back after the Kansas game,” Williams said. “We didn’t want to lose three or four straight before we got it back rolling. We let the last game go and tried to come out here and get the victory.”
Nash and Markel Brown scored 16 points apiece, Smart scored all 14 of his points in the second half, Williams added a career-high 13 points and Michael Cobbins scored 10 for Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4).
Williams doubled his previous career high for points and made both 3-point tries after entering the game 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
“I thought Brian Williams played the best that he’s played all year,” Ford said. “He’s starting to get back in form. The strength of our team is who are you going to stop? It’s pretty tough to focus on one or two guys on our team. We have some versatility. I liked the way the shots were distributed among our players.”
Oklahoma State shot 52 percent (14 of 27) after halftime and forced 11 second-half turnovers to give Ford his 100th win with the Cowboys.
West Virginia (13-14, 6-8) trailed by 2 points at halftime but couldn’t keep up the momentum, falling apart with lapses on both ends of the floor. The Mountaineers succumbed to Oklahoma State’s full-court press and shot 30 percent (16 of 53) for the game.
Oklahoma 90, Baylor 76
NORMAN, Okla. — Sam Grooms scored a career-high 23 points, Steven Pledger had 17 of his 19 points in the first half as Oklahoma built a big lead and the Sooners held off Baylor’s comeback attempt for a 90-76 victory on Saturday.
With the win, Oklahoma (18-8, 9-5 Big 12) remained ahead of the Bears in the conference standings and swept the season series after getting swept a season ago.
Grooms did most of his damage at the free-throw line, drawing frequent fouls as Baylor resorted to full-court pressure after falling behind. He went 15 for 17 on foul shots and Oklahoma went 39 for 45 to set season-highs in both categories.
Big 12 scoring leader Pierre Jackson scored 24 of his 28 points after changing shoes at halftime, but was unable to get Baylor (16-11, 7-7) any closer than 12 after trailing by 26 at the half.
Kansas 74, TCU 48
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Bill Self didn’t show Kansas any extra video from its previous game against TCU.
His guys could probably recall every play anyway.
It was just more than two weeks ago that the mighty Jayhawks, eight-time defending Big 12 champs, were waylaid on the road by a team that hasn’t won another conference game all season.
So it made sense that the ninth-ranked Jayhawks would bring a bit of feistiness to the return game Saturday, and they didn’t disappoint: They rolled to a 74-48 victory at Allen Fieldhouse.
“We just showed them their plays, how they run things and guard, and how we were inept doing both things against them,” Self said of that 62-55 loss on Feb. 6.
“Hopefully it won’t be discussed much moving forward. We need to think positive thoughts.”
The Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12) are certainly moving in a positive direction. They have won three straight since an uncharacteristic three-game skid, and assured themselves of no worse than a tie for first place in the league race heading to Iowa State on Monday night.
“They came out and kind of hit us in the mouth over there, and today, we came out with a lot of energy,” said Jeff Withey, who had 18 points to lead the Jayhawks.
“We kind of had a quick start and kept rolling from there.”
Kansas built a 38-9 lead by halftime and never looked back, giving Self career win No. 499.
Iowa State 86, Texas Tech 66
AMES, Iowa — Will Clyburn and Chris Babb each scored 17 points and Iowa State trounced Texas Tech 86-66 on Saturday for its third straight win.
Melvin Ejim had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cyclones (19-8, 9-5 Big 12), who tuned up for Monday’s home game with Kansas by outscoring the Red Raiders 50-37 in the second half.
The Cyclones stretched their lead to double digits, 50-39, with 13:52 to go and led by at least 10 the rest of the way. Iowa State went ahead by as many as 28 points in cruising to its 22nd straight home win.
Josh Gray had a game-high 20 points for Texas Tech (9-16, 2-12), which has lost eight in a row. Texas Tech handed Iowa State its only bad loss so far, stunning the Cyclones 56-51 in Lubbock last month. The Red Raiders haven’t won since.
Kansas State 81, Texas 69
AUSTIN, Texas — Week by week and win by win, No. 13 Kansas State keeps inching closer to something not experienced by the Wildcats in a generation: a conference basketball championship.
On Saturday night, it was an easy 81-69 victory over Texas that pushed Kansas State (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) just a little bit further along.
The Wildcats trailed only for a matter of seconds after the game’s first basket, made nine-3-pointers against the toughest perimeter defense in the country and had four players score in double figures in a game they controlled by early in the second half.
“We’re trying to win a championship you know?” said Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez, who had 16 points and six assists. “We’ve got to play at a high level. We’ve still got a couple of games. If we keep doing what we do, we should be all right.”
Kansas State shares first place in the Big 12 with No. 9 Kansas and the Wildcats have four games left to chase their first regular-season conference championship since winning the old Big Eight title in 1976-77. Kansas State’s best finish in the Big 12 has been a tie for second in 2010.
The Wildcats have already tied their school record for Big 12 wins.
Against Texas, Kansas State shot 50 percent from 3-point range and was a blistering 20 of 22 from the free throw line to snuff out any hopes of a Texas rally. Kansas State had 19 assists on its 26 baskets, consistently whipping the ball around for the open shot, often from long range.
Rodney McGruder led the Wildcats with 20 points.
“They moved the basketball,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “They were more aggressive on defense this time than the first time, we kept our composure, made the extra pass that got some easy goals.”