Cats Cruise to Big 12 Tourney Semis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jamar Samuels scored a game-high 27 points, 21 of which came in the first half, and ninth-ranked Kansas State used a smothering defense to defeat Oklahoma State, 83-64, Thursday in quarterfinal action of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

With the win, the Wildcats improved to 25-6 on the season and tied the school record for wins in a season. K-State will face the winner of the Texas/Baylor game on Friday night in semifinal action of the Big 12 Championship.

Samuels had a special night for K-State, particularly in the first half, with his double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds. He was also stellar at the free throw line, connecting on 11-of-14 attempts.

Jacob Pullen also had a solid night with 19 points, while Denis Clemente added a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Dominique Sutton scored 11 points in the contest as K-State had four players reach double figures in scoring.

The Wildcats dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Cowboys, 43-27, while K-State dished out 20 assists on the evening. Oklahoma State shot just 39 percent from the floor in the game, while K-State forced the Cowboys into 15 turnovers.

K-State played perhaps its best half of basketball of the season Thursday and jumped out to a 51-26 lead at halftime. Samuels dominated the paint with 21 points in the opening 20 minutes, while Pullen drained three first-half three's. K-State shot 53 percent from the floor and held the hot-shooting Cowboys to just 33 percent with stifling defense while dominating the boards, 25-8.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first half following a Pullen three and a Clemente runner. A Sutton dunk and a Samuels jumper upped the margin to 20-8, and the Wildcat lead grew to 22-8 with 12:01 left when Martavious Irving forced a steal and Curtis Kelly finished the fast break with a two-handed dunk for two of his seven points.

With the Cats holding a 23-8 lead, Oklahoma State went on a 12-2 run to close the gap to 25-20 but two Samuels free throws and a Sutton dunk in transition upped the lead back to eight at 31-23. Holding a 35-26 lead with 5:42 left in the half, K-State closed with a 16-0 run to extend its halftime margin to 25 at 51-26.

Clemente hit two three-pointers and a jumper early in the second half as the Wildcat lead grew to 32 at 63-31. Oklahoma State would eventually cut the lead to under 20 points at 75-56 with 3:43 left, but the game was already well in hand for Kansas State.

James Anderson led Oklahoma State (22-10) with 27 points.