Freshmen lead Kansas State past Oklahoma

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Bruce Weber was happy to admit he was wrong.

The Kansas State coach was asked following his team's 72-66 victory over No. 25 Oklahoma if he would have thought there was any chance for a victory with forward Thomas Gipson scoring only four points.

"I thought the key to the game was going to be getting the ball into him and him scoring," Weber replied. "I guess I was way off on that."

Gipson suffered through one of his worst offensive games of the season, finishing with as many fouls as points (four), but his teammates bailed him out. Wildcats freshman guard Marcus Foster scored 18 points, guard Shane Southwell scored 16, and freshman forward Wesley Iwundu had 11, including a late 3-pointer that cut Oklahoma's lead in half.

"That's a great win against a Top 25 team," Weber said.

While Kansas State's season-best 52.4 percent 3-point shooting certainly helped, Weber was most proud of his defense, which held Oklahoma 21 points under its season average.

"They're one of the better offensive teams in the country," Weber said, "and we held them to 66 (points) and 33 percent field-goal percentage. We did some things well.

"Shane had one of his better games, with 16 and eight (rebounds). Nino (Williams, a junior forward,) came up big with 10 and nine.

"But in the gut-check time of the game, the freshmen really jumped up."

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said the Wildcats (13-4, 3-1 Big 12) responded while his team didn't.

"I thought down the stretch Kansas State did some really good things -- made shots they needed to, got loose balls, got second shots," he said. "We didn't convert on our end.

"When you get one in a position to win on the road, you'd like to go ahead and finish it. We're not quite ready to do that, I guess, but we've got to learn from it."

The K-State run was led by the freshman class, including Foster and Iwundu.

"Wes hit a big 3," Southwell said. "We had to get stops and make plays."

The Sooners (13-4, 2-2) were led by forward Ryan Spangler, who scored 21 points.

The game was contested on the inside through most of the second half. Both teams scored all their points from the paint or the free-throw line from the 17-minute mark until Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins hit a 15-footer with 6:12 remaining. There was just one 3-pointer, by Iwundu, during a 15-minute stretch until Foster hit one from the wing to give Kansas State a 66-63 lead with 2:10.

"It got physical (in the second half)," Spangler said. "We weren't hitting the shots we usually do, so coach put us into an offense to get me rolling to the rim. We got some easy looks."

Kansas State went cold from 3-point range for a while in the second half, hitting just one of six, but it got hot at the right time.

Both teams had scoring streaks in the first half. Oklahoma used an 11-2 run to turn a 6-3 deficit into a 14-8 lead.

Foster hit back-to-back-to-back 3-point shots to key a 15-3 Kansas State run. The Wildcats hit five consecutive 3-point shots, with guard Will Spradling and Iwundu following Foster's three long-range hoops.

Kansas State took a 39-38 lead into the half, thanks largely to the outside shot. The Wildcats, who were averaging less than 30 percent from 3-point range on the season, hit eight of 13 from beyond the arc (61.5 percent) before the break.

Oklahoma was just 12 of 31 (38.7 percent) from the field for the half.

NOTES: Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger is 4-5 all-time against his alma mater, Kansas State, including 2-3 with the Sooners. Kruger was two-time Big 8 Player of the Year (1973 and 1974) while running the point for K-State. ... Oklahoma assistant Steve Henson was the point guard for all four of Kruger's teams at K-State (1986-90). He still holds seven school offensive records. ... Kansas State came into the game leading the Big 12 (11th nationally) in scoring defense at 59.8 points per game. During a recent 10-game winning streak that ended with a loss to Kansas on Saturday, the Wildcats gave up 53.1 points per game.

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