Kansas St. 72, Oklahoma 61
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)—Cartier Martin scored a career-high 30 points in his final conference home game, and Kansas State beat Oklahoma 72-61 on Saturday to guarantee a first-round bye in the Big 12 Conference tournament.
David Hoskins added 14 points and Lance Harris had 10—all in the first half—for the Wildcats, whose victory also boosted their chances of making the NCAA field for the first time since 1996.
Martin, who had been shifted to a sixth man role by first-year coach Bob Huggins, hit five 3-pointers in his first start since Jan. 13.
The Wildcats (21-10, 10-6 Big 12) finished fourth in the conference, their best placing since the Big 12 began play in the 1996-97 season.
The Sooners (15-14, 6-10) lost their sixth straight. Barring an improbable run to the conference tournament title, which carries an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, Oklahoma will need an NIT bid to extend its run of 25 straight postseason appearances—the longest active streak in Division I.
The Sooners had only three field goals in the final 12 minutes of the first half and trailed by 19 points at the break before mounting two comeback bids in the second period.
Tony Crocker scored four points in 2 seconds—drawing a foul on a made layup and then putting back his missed free throw—to cap a 9-0 run that got the Sooners within 48-35 with just over 15 minutes to go.
Martin hit two 3-pointers, converted a three-point play and scored points over the next 5 1/2 minutes, but Kansas State’s poor free throw shooting down the stretch helped Oklahoma get back in the game.
The Sooners got within nine points three times, the last time on Nate Carter’s basket with 41.2 seconds to go that made it 70-61, but could get no closer.
The Wildcats shot just 58 percent (15-for-26) from the line.
Carter and Crocker shared Oklahoma’s scoring lead with 14 points each and David Godbold added 12.
Center Longar Longar, Oklahoma’s second-leading scorer at 11 points per game, was held to two points on 1-for-5 shooting. Michael Neal, who came in averaging 10.2 points for the Sooners, was held to four—although Austin Johnson did make two free throws for Neal after he fell hard in a collision with Hoskins and had to come out of the game for several minutes.
Oklahoma took its last lead, 14-13, on Johnson’s basket just over eight minutes into the game. But the Sooners didn’t score again from the field until Carter connected off the glass with 4:13 left in the half, and then went scoreless until Neal’s basket in the final seconds before intermission.
Kansas State took advantage of Oklahoma’s slump with a 28-6 run for a 41-20 lead, and was up 41-22 at the break.
Martin hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points and Harris had six points in the run.