The Cowboys kept the game interesting in the first half, even holding a six-point lead in the game’s opening minutes, thanks to a torrid start from behind the 3-point line when OSU connected on five of its first six attempts from behind the arc. The Cowboys just didn’t have enough in the tank in this regular season finale.
This was going to be a challenging game for the Cowboys to win from the start. It was K-State’s Senior Day and it was in need of boosting its NCAA Tournament pedigree. OSU has been poor on the road and was missing forward Le’Bryan Nash for the third straight game.
OSU, already weak in numbers, was then dealt a devastating blow just three minutes into the game in Bramlage Coliseum. Cowboy center Philip Jurick planted his foot awkwardly and crumpled to the floor and, courtesy of instant replay, didn’t appear to have done anything serious but the obvious pain he was in said otherwise right from the start.
Jurick was helped straight to the visitor’s locker room and his day was over. It was confirmed after the game that the junior center suffered a torn Achilles tendon and his season is over.
"Once our guys came in, saw Jurick and the situation he was in, it took a lot out of our players and some of our guys were down,” Ford said.
From that point forward, OSU just didn’t have the available personnel to stave off a deep, talented Wildcat team at home as the score differential continued to grow incrementally until the final buzzer.The Cowboys forcing the issue didn't help either, to the tune of 18 turnovers.
The Wildcats hit key 3s, they took advantage of OSU’s gaping hole in the middle without Nash or Jurick and distanced themselves from the Pokes one step at a time. But as Ford addressed after the game, the biggest enemy OSU was faced with on Saturday was itself. He said his team was distracted and in its own head after the injury.
"We are not real deep to begin with," Ford said. "It kind of made us start thinking about it a little bit on both ends.
"Our team played hard. We hung in there right at the gate. We did some things we wanted to do to try and stay in the game in the first half. K-State made a lot of key 3’s in the first half to keep extending the lead. We got in some serious foul trouble"
Only five players scored for the Cowboys on Saturday with Keiton Page again leading the pack. Page finished with 22 on 7-of-13 shooting and hit six 3s to keep OSU in it. The second leading scorer, and perhaps providing the silver lining to the loss, was freshman Cezar Guerrero, who turned in a Big 12-best 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting with five assists and three steals.
Brian Williams chipped in nine points, three rebounds and three assists. Markel Brown scored eight to go with four boards. Michael Cobbins finished with four and led the Cowboys with seven rebounds.
Kansas State was led by the trio of Jamar Samuels, Rodney McGruder and Jordan Henriquez, who combined for 47 points on 24-of-34 shooting.
The loss wraps up the regular season for the Cowboys at 14-17 overall and 7-11 in conference play. OSU has the No. 7 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and will face No. 10 seed Texas Tech on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.