MANHATTAN, Kan. —
Thomas Gipson likened the game to a "bar fight," the sort of description that is certain to make the senior-level folks in the Kansas State athletic department shake their head in exasperation.
Of course, Wildcats coach Bruce Weber used the exact same term to describe a 74-71 victory over No. 6Oklahoma State on Saturday — the kind of rough-and-tumble affair both teams were expecting as they opened Big 12 play harboring championship aspirations.
"What else can you say?" Weber said. "They're a potential Final Four team. I don't think there's any doubt. And we were able to compete with them and find a way to win."
Marcus Foster had 17 points for the Wildcats (11-3), and Nino Williams scored 15, none bigger than the two free throws he made with 5.7 seconds left to give Kansas State a three-point lead.
The Cowboys' Marcus Smart raced up court and threw up a running 3-point try as the final buzzer sounded, but it clanked harmlessly off the rim. By the time it fell to the court, Kansas State was well into celebrating its ninth consecutive victory.
"We felt like that was one of the toughest games we've played so far," said Gipson, who added 10 points and 11 rebounds. "For us to be young and come out and get a huge win against the No. 6 team in the nation, that feels real good."
Le'Bryan Nash scored 20 points, Markel Brown finished with 16 and Smart added 15 for the Cowboys (12-2, 0-1), who were plagued by foul trouble after already missing two of their key players.
Michael Cobbins, their best big man, sustained a season-ending Achilles injury on Monday, and freshman guard Stevie Clark — their second-leading scorer off the bench — did not play after he was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession on Wednesday.