The road hasn't been kind to Oklahoma State in the Travis Ford era and that trend held true on Saturday afternoon in Manhattan.
The Cowboys were done in for the second consecutive game by a stellar opponent individual performance coupled with an underwhelming performance on the glass, falling 73-67 at No. 25 Kansas State to fall to 1-18 in its past 19 conference road games.
Kansas State's Rodney McGruder was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half, scoring 26 of his 28 points in the second half. He drilled a few timely 3's to keep the Pokes at arm's length down the stretch. It was eerily similar to the one-man dominance of Kelly Olynyk, who scored all 21 of his points in the second half for No. 10 Gonzaga against OSU last week.
McGruder hit all five of his 3-pointers in the second half.
And just like the Gonzaga game, OSU couldn't match up physically with the Wildcats in the paint. OSU was outrebounded 35-27 and allowed numerous second and third opportunities, chances the Wildcats routinely took full advantage of.
It was the second consecutive loss for the No. 22 Cowboys, who are sure to fall out of the Top 25 for the time being.
Freshman Marcus Smart was excellent again for the Cowboys with 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 9-of-12 from the foul line, exemplifying his aggression on the offensive end. He also chipped in five rebounds, three steals and two assists in the losing effort.
Markel Brown was the only other Cowboy who could find much success against a stout KSU defense, scoring 19 points and pulling in five rebounds.
Phil Forte scored eight points off the bench, while Kamari Murphy and Le'Bryan Nash had six points each.
OSU struggled the entire game from the field, shooting just 40.8 percent but hung tight because of its aggressiveness in getting to the basket, resulting in a 24-for-29 performance from the foul line.
This was a matchup of the two teams most widely regarded as the top threats to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title this season. Round One went the way of the Wildcats, but OSU will get another shot when it plays host to KSU in the regular season finale on March 9.
The Cowboys fell to 10-3 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 play, while the Wildcats improved to 12-2 and 1-0.
OSU returns to the court on Wednesday when it hosts TCU at 7 p.m.