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OSU Falls To K-State In Conference Semifinals

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KANSAS CITY -

Oklahoma State got cold in the second half of Thursday night's victory against Baylor and never broke out of the shooting funk against Kansas State on Friday.

OSU shot a season-worst 30.5 percent at the Sprint Center in a 68-57 Big 12 Conference semifinal loss to the Wildcats.

The Cowboys (24-8) played stout defense to limit K-State to just 39 percent shooting but the horrific shooting, costly turnovers and early foul troubles proved to be too much for the Pokes to overcome in Kansas City.

OSU fell behind 5-0 early and didn't make a shot until the 15:41 mark of the opening half but the Cowboys put together a nice run to take a 17-12 lead. And that spurt was achieved despite Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash sitting quickly with two fouls each and Michael Cobbins missing a few minutes after the training staff had to pop his dislocated shoulder back into place.

OSU's defense came up big during that stretch, forcing KSU to miss 17 of its first 20 shots.

But Kansas State (27-6) responded with a 10-0 run of its own to snag a 22-17 advantage; a lead the Wildcats would never lose. K-State eventually built the lead to 28-21 before a breakaway slam by OSU's Brian Williams closed the gap to five heading into halftime.

The five-point deficit seemed almost fortunate for the Cowboys because of their 9-of-28 shooting, eight turnovers, 11 surrendered offensive rebounds, and lack of Brown, Nash and Cobbins in the lineup.

As a result, OSU looked to be in good position but the shooting woes only worsened when the second half was underway. The Cowboys made a few runs and even cut the deficit to six with 16 minutes left but every time they made a push K-State had an answer.

The Wildcats eventually ballooned their lead to 14 when Rodriguez rebounded an Oklahoma State miss and Rodney McGruder drilled a 3-pointer.

For the second time this season, McGruder was a thorn in OSU's side. He came up with numerous key shots to keep the Cowboys at bay en route to 25 points and nine rebounds. Rodriguez was also big for KSU with three timely second-half 3's. He finished with 17 points in a heated battle with Marcus Smart at the point.

Smart led the Cowboys with another stat-sheet-stuffing performance with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steal, but struggled from the floor on 6-of-17 shooting.

Nash was the only other double-digit performer for the Pokes with 11 points despite not scoring a point until the 9:35 mark in the second half.

Brown finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble. He finished with four fouls.

Kansas State will face rival Kansas in the Big 12 Championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Cowboys will now wait for their name to be called on Selection Sunday to determine their NCAA Tournament seeding.

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