Oklahoma State entered Lawrence on Saturday as a considerable underdog more in public opinion than in Vegas odds.
Its road woes well documented, Allen Fieldhouse seemed the least likely of all locals for the Cowboys to right the ship.
But as Phil Forte converted a layup as the final second ticked off the clock and Marcus Smart did a back flip in The Phog, the reality of the fact became clear. For the first time since 1989, Oklahoma State leaves Kansas with an 85-80 victory.
Smart and Markel Brown put together career performances in OSU's first road victory over a top 5 opponent since 1958. Brown tore it up in the first half but the second half belonged to the Pokes' dynamic freshman.
Brown scored 22 of his 28 points in the first half, including an incredible 7-for-10 performance from the 3-point line. Brown hit his first four 3's of the game to help the Cowboys leap out to a 14-point first-half lead.
In the second half, Smart stepped up to center stage. The Flower Mound, Texas, product scored 25 points to go with nine rebounds, five steals and three assists. And it was his clutch play down the stretch that help OSU withstand a late KU 3-point barrage to leave Lawrence victorious.
With OSU trailing by four with 4:23 remaining, Smart dished to Phil Forte who sank a 3 to jump start a 16-3 run for the Pokes that gave OSU a 77-69 lead with one minute remaining – Smart scored eight of the Cowboys' points in the run and 11 of the Pokes' final 25 in the game.
And he did what he couldn't against No. 10 Gonzaga, converting his free throws (9-11) down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Smart and Brown headlined the group but there were many heroes for the Cowboys on this day. Michael Cobbins was a beast in the post with eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks against a stout KU front line. Le'Bryan Nash struggled on 2-of-7 shooting and fouled out with seven points but the shots he hit came at key moments.
And lastly was Forte. The freshman sharpshooter missed his first eight shots of the game but came up huge when it was needed most, connecting on a 3 to start OSU's massive run and connecting on all four free throws in the final 30 seconds to keep KU at bay. Then he sealed the outcome with a breakaway layup as time expired.
Second-ranked Kansas (19-2, 7-1 Big 12) was led by 23 points from standout freshman Ben McLemore but it was OSU's team effort that reigned supreme on Saturday afternoon.
OSU (15-5, 5-3 Big 12) avoided falling behind early, never trailed by more than four points and avoided turnovers (12) to help in put a stop to a dismal 0-4 road record this season and a 1-21 record in its past 22 Big 12 road contests.
Smart and Brown flipped the script and the rest of the team played its roles to a tee as the Pokes ended its woes in the most unlikely of places.