MANHATTAN — Oklahoma State has company at the bottom of the Big 12.
Kansas State's hopes for a late-season conference surge took another hit Tuesday night when last-place Oklahoma State shot a torrid 81.3% in the second half to hold off the Wildcats, 64-59, at Bramlage Coliseum.
With the loss, K-State fell to 9-15 overall and 2-9 in the Big 12, tying Oklahoma State (12-12, 2-9 Big 12) for last place. It started the second half of the league schedule Saturday by falling at Iowa State, another team near the bottom of the standings.
"This was a game that we really expected, at home, to win," said K-State guard Mike McGuirl, who led the Wildcats with 16 points. "So it's very, very frustrating."
Oklahoma State went in front to stay, 20-18, on Yor Anei's basket with 6:48 left in the first half, part of a 12-4 run to close out the period. The Cowboys led 27-21 at intermission.
K-State opened the second half with a 7-2 spurt to close within a point at 29-28 on McGuirl's two free throws with 15:14 left, but that was the high-water mark for the Wildcats. They also trimmed the deficit to two twice in the final eight minutes, but couldn't get enough stops as Oklahoma State continually pounded the ball inside.
OSU made 13 of 16 shots in the period for the second-best percentage ever against a K-State opponent in a half. The Cowboys shot 51.2% for the game.
"They played very patient tonight with a great pace (and) got it inside and punished us inside, and made all the right plays when it counted," K-State coach Bruce Weber said.
K-State clawed its way back from an eight-point deficit to get within two, 47-45, with 7:09 left on back-to-back 3-pointers from McGuirl and Xavier Sneed and a David Sloan fast-break layup. Cartier Diarra's reverse layup at the 6-minute mark got it to 49-47, but both times Oklahoma State had an answer.
Anei answered Diarra's basket with five straight points to push it back to seven, and with 2:15 left Lindy Waters beat the shot clock with a dagger 3-pointer that made it 59-50. It was just the Cowboys' second three of the game and their last field goal before closing it out with five free throws.
"Every win in this league is a valuable one as we continue to try to finish our season strong, specifically for our seniors," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton, whose Cowboys have won two of their last three games and took No. 1-ranked Baylor to the wire Saturday on the road before falling, 78-70. "I was proud of the way our whole team played.
"I thought we had a great team effort today."
Anei was especially effective, hitting all six of his shots to finish with 15 points and seven rebounds. Waters added 12 points, Jonathan Laurent 11 and Cameron McGriff 10 for the Cowboys.
"(Anei) was great. He punked us inside and I thought they were very physical," Weber said.
In addition to McGuirl, K-State got 15 points and seven rebounds from Diarra, who also turned the ball over five times. Makol Mawien battled early foul trouble but finished with 11 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. Oklahoma State did not score in the last two minutes of the period and went the final 5:08 without a field goal, yet still led by six.