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Kansas Survives Early Big 12 Tournament Scare From Oklahoma State

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About all you can say about the Kansas Jayhawk quarterfinal performance against Oklahoma State is that it happened. Headed into Thursday's matchup the Cowboys were considered the better and easier matchup for the Jayhawks but Bill Self made a prophetic statement on Monday when talking about the eventual Jayhawk opponent.

Oklahoma State, we played pretty well against them. But I've never gotten in the habit of hoping for something because usually what you hope for, you realize it's not the best thing for you. So I really don't care.

Turns out, maybe Oklahoma State wasn't the best thing for the Jayhawks as the Cowboys came out motivated and looking for payback from the recent drubbing handed out in Lawrence. 

For just the third time all season the Jayhawks headed into halftime trailing in a basketball game after the Cowboys checked in with one of the best shooting halves by a Jayhawk opponent through the first 20 minutes.  Meanwhile the Jayhawks couldn't seem to get into a rhythm offensively and minus a strong start from Marcus Morris, Kansas struggled to keep pace.

Fortunately the second half balanced things out a bit as the Jayhawk defensive effort improved resulting in the Cowboys struggling to score.  Throw in foul trouble on the Oklahoma State interior and the  Jayhawks finally took the lead at 51-50 around the 11 minute mark.  The game continued at an ugly pace with neither team finding much success on the offensive end.  The Cowboys would see all three primary frontline players head to the bench after fouling out yet Kansas couldn't pull away and eventually Keaton Paige was able to tie the game at 60 to 60 with a minute and a half to go.  The Cowboys would even be in a position to win trailing just one with the ball and 19 seconds to go but the Cowboys couldn't get a good look and JP Olukemi missed a last second three that would have won the game.

Kansas survives 63-62 and moves on to Friday where a potential 3rd matchup with Kansas State awaits.  The Jayhawks were led by Marcus Morris who recorded a double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.  Kansas will need to wake up and play quite a bit better if they want to advance past Kansas State or Colorado in the semifinals on Friday.