LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks outscored Oklahoma State 25-12 in the fourth quarter to overcome an 11-point second half deficit and claim a 70-64 victory on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas picked up its second home win of the week, improving to 9-7 on the year and 2-3 in Big 12 play, while Oklahoma State fell to 10-6 (3-2 Big 12) on the year. The win also makes KU 7-1 this season at Allen Fieldhouse.
“They’re not always going to be pretty, but I thought we showed a lot of grit in playing through some foul trouble and mistakes tonight,” Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider said after the game. “I thought in the second half, we were finally able to establish a paint presence after getting jumper happy in the first half. We had several players step up and make big plays, which is what it takes to win in conference play.”
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures, with Kansas being led by freshman S’Mya Nichols, who scored 17 points, while Holly Kersgieter added 16. Zakiyah Franklin and Wyvette Mayberry each had 13 points in the contest and Taiyanna Jackson battled foul trouble to finish with six points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Nichols nailed a three-pointer on KU’s opening possession to take an early 3-0 lead, but both teams would struggle to score after that. Oklahoma State got one to fall with 7:17 left in the first and tied the game at 4-4 before the Jayhawks got a three-pointer from Kersgieter and a basket from Laia Conesa to lead 9-4.
OSU answered with a 6-0 run and held Kansas without a field goal for the rest of the quarter, taking a 13-11 lead following a three-pointer on the final possession of the first.
Franklin opened the second with a tough layup to tie the game at 13 apiece, but the Cowgirls responded with five unanswered points to take the lead back. While holding an 18-17 lead, OSU added a 6-0 run to take a seven-point, 24-17 advantage before KU called for a timeout. The Jayhawks got to within two at 29-27 after Zsofia Telegdy connected for a three, but OSU quickly answered with a layup at the buzzer and headed into the half with a 31-27 lead.
After trading baskets for the first 2:24 of the second half, Oklahoma State went on another big run, this time scoring seven unanswered points en route to a 42-31 lead with 6:33 left in the third quarter. Jackson closed the gap to 44-34 with a made free-throw at the 5:41 mark of the quarter and Mayberry added a basket to get within eight at 44-36. Kansas closed the third frame with a 6-3 run to cut OSU’s lead down to seven heading into the fourth as the Cowgirls led 52-45.
Kansas stormed back to tie the game at 54 early in the fourth quarter. The Jayhawks went on an 8-0 run off the strength of back-to-back three-pointers from Nichols and Kersgieter. KU would then grab the lead for the first time since the first quarter after Nichols hit two free throws to go up 56-54
Franklin caught fire as she went on to score five consecutive points including a traditional three-point play. Nichols followed that up with a contested layup to extend KU’s run to 19-5, giving KU a 65-59 lead with 3:41 remaining.
OSU stayed in the game as they inched to within five, 69-64 with 1:28 left to play. Momentum stayed on KU’s side with a free-throw converted by Nichols that pushed KU to a 70-64 victory.
In the win, Kansas matched the single game school record for its fewest turnovers, with just five in the game. This is the third time in program history that KU has had just five turnovers in a game, first since last March against Arkansas in the WNIT. The Jayhawks turned 12 OSU turnovers into 11 points.
The victory also presented a few notable milestones for the Jayhawks. Franklin scored 13 points on the night, surpassing 1,700 career points for her career. With her nine rebounds, Jackson moved into sixth on the Kansas all-time rebounding list with 858 rebounds, passing Vickie Adkins (852).
Kansas hits the road to face No. 10 Texas on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on the Longhorn Network.