STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)Kansas guard Gradey Dick was the main target of jeers from Oklahoma State’s noisy fans Tuesday night.
His outside shooting quieted the crowd. The freshman scored 17 of his season-high 26 points in the second half and the fifth-ranked Jayhawks rolled to an 87-76 victory over the Cowboys.
Dick said Oklahoma State’s fans gave him energy.
”I love it,” he said. ”I love it. I kind of like being, you know, the hated one going into (visiting arenas). And they were doing their little chants. But it definitely fuels the fire, for sure.”
Dick made 10 of 17 field goal attempts, shooting 4 of 9 on 3-pointers. And his performance allowed Kansas to get away with a bit of an off night from the Big 12’s leading scorer. Jalen Wilson had 14 points – nearly seven below his average coming in.
Wilson said Dick’s production was exceptional, especially for a freshman.
”He did great,” Wilson said. ”You guys have seen all year, he has no conscience when it comes to shooting the ball and that’s what makes a great shooter. Every time he shoots the ball, we think it’s going in just like he thinks it’s going in.”
Kansas shot 66% from the field in the second half to pull away from the Cowboys. Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense, but the Cowboys couldn’t figure out the Jayhawks.
”We’ve got to defend better,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. ”We’re a better defensive team than we showed. We just didn’t have our fastball tonight and our curveball wasn’t good enough.”
Kansas (21-5, 9-4 Big 12) has won three straight. The Jayhawks are tied with Texas and Baylor atop the conference standings.
Kalib Boone scored a career-high 27 points, John-Michael Wright had 18 and Bryce Thompson added 17 for Oklahoma State (16-10, 7-6).
Oklahoma State had won five straight, including victories over ranked opponents TCU and Iowa State. The Cowboys were coming off a 64-56 win at then-No. 11 Iowa State.
But the Cowboys were again without senior guard Avery Anderson III, who remained out after having surgery on his left wrist.
Thompson lit up the Jayhawks early. The guard, who played at Kansas for a year before transferring to Oklahoma State, scored 14 points in the first 11 minutes to help the Cowboys take a 23-18 lead.
Kansas hung tough, and Dick’s 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave the Jayhawks a 39-37 lead at the break.
”Obviously, it was a big play, kind of a breakdown in communication for us,” Boynton said. ”I think we had a mix-up in our defensive calls there and that should never happen. A guy who shoots that well is obviously pretty close to the top of the scouting report.”
Dick scored eight points in the first two minutes of the second half to help Kansas take a 52-44 lead, and the Jayhawks led by at least five the rest of the way.
Now, Oklahoma State will try to regain its footing.
”You can’t get too far down,” Boynton said. ”There’s still a lot of games left, a lot to play for with solid position. We’ve just got to get back to work.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks completed back-to-back road wins in Oklahoma against teams that have some big victories on their home courts. The Jayhawks beat Oklahoma on Saturday.
Oklahoma State: While this loss won’t hurt perception of the Cowboys, they have three more regular-season games against ranked opponents, so every opportunity is critical.
Boone shot 10 of 15 and grabbed nine rebounds. He scored 25 points three games ago against TCU, then dropped to nine against Texas Tech and eight against Iowa State before Tuesday’s big performance.
Boynton on his team’s effort: ”I didn’t think as a team we necessarily met the moment collectively in a way that we gave ourselves the best chance to win.”
Kansas: Hosts No. 9 Baylor on Saturday.
Oklahoma State: Visits No. 22 TCU on Saturday.
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