It wouldn't be a Saturday in 2013 if there wasn't a thoroughly surprising outcome in the college basketball world.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys gave us just that with an 85-80 road win over the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Parity is alive and kicking in the college hoops world, and seeing an incredibly talented Oklahoma State team knock off Kansas isn't all that surprising. Seeing them do it at Allen Fieldhouse is.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Kansas hadn't fallen to OSU at home since 1989:
Oklahoma St leads Kansas at half. Cowboys havent beaten Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse since 1989. #UpsetAlert— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 2, 2013
Markel Brown came out ready to change that.
The high-flying junior was white-hot in the first half. He knocked down five three-pointers en route to 22 points in the game's first 20 minutes. Someone attempted to touch him, but they immediately burst into flames.
Brown finished with "just" 28 points and seven three-pointers made as he turned to freshman Marcus Smart in the first half.
Behind 23 points from Ben McLemore, the Jayhawks fought their way back into the lead for most of the second half. But with three minutes remaining, Smart took over.
February 20 is the rematch at Oklahoma State. Who ya got?
With the Cowboys up one, the freshman point guard got an offensive rebound and a putback off a missed free throw. Then, he got a steal. Then, he got another offensive 'board and putback. Then, he made two free throws, and suddenly, it was 75-68 with a minute to go.
In the end, Smart finished with 25 points, three assists, five steals and nine rebounds—eight of which came from the offensive glass. Again, this is a freshman point guard we are talking about.
Let that sink in.
McLemore and Andrew White hit threes down the stretch to make things interesting, but Smart and former high school teammate Phil Forte knocked down their free throws to seal it.
In trying to sum up Smart's performance, I kept ending up with my mouth wide open and drool trickling down my chin. Grantland's Shane Ryan did a little bit of a better job:
Seriously, Marcus Smart is a one-man wrecking crew right now. This is the freshman performance of the year by anyone.— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) February 2, 2013
CBS Sports' Matt Norlander talked about what this win means for the bubbling Cowboys' tourney hopes:
Oklahoma State wins at Phog Allen for the first time in 24 years, 85-80. Pokes will undoubtedly dance this year and save Travis Ford's job.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 2, 2013
Unless Ford's squad suffers a major meltdown in the final month, it would be a travesty to exclude this surging team from the Big Dance.
Most of the world may not have seen this result coming, but according to CBS Sports' Seth Davis, KU head coach Bill Self may have:
Bill Self has been saying for weeks that his team was not playing well. Guess he knew something the rest of us didn't. Congrats to the Pokes— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 2, 2013
Deadspin's Timothy Burke noted there was something fishy going on with the clock at the Phog:
Wow. Kansas down one, OSU has the ball, clock mysteriously stops for several seconds while KU attempts to foul.— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 2, 2013
Fortunately, it didn't end up affecting the outcome of the hard-fought contest.
While Smart is getting much of the attention for willing the Cowboys to a win in the second half, let's not forget about Markel Brown's historic performance (via College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster):
Also ... holy Markel Brown batman. Best he's ever played, no?— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) February 2, 2013
He had a bit of a different day than KU point guard Elijah Johnson, who went 3-of-14 from the field and continues to struggle immensely for the Jayhawks (via Rush the Court's Brian Goodman):
Markel Brown has taken only 2 more shots than Elijah Johnson, but has scored 20 more points.— Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) February 2, 2013