University of Kansas

As Cowboys come to town, KU hasn’t forgotten last month’s loss to Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State guard Jeff Newberry took a shot in front of Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham (left), forward Perry Ellis and Cowboys teammate guard Leyton Hammonds during a game last month in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State won 86-67.
Oklahoma State guard Jeff Newberry took a shot in front of Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham (left), forward Perry Ellis and Cowboys teammate guard Leyton Hammonds during a game last month in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State won 86-67. The Associated Press

In the hours after Kansas’ triple-overtime victory over Oklahoma in early January, Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham stayed up until 6 a.m. to watch the game’s televised replay.

He had no plans of doing the same thing following a career game in KU’s 76-72 victory at Oklahoma on Saturday.

“We’ve got to get ready,” Graham said. “We’ve got a game on Monday.”

And an important one at that.

No. 6 KU will be looking to avenge one of its three previous road losses when it is host to Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Cowboys, who were nine-point home underdogs in the teams’ earlier matchup on Jan. 19, overwhelmed the Jayhawks in an 86-67 victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena. It was KU’s worst loss to a conference opponent since the 2012-13 season.

“They put a whupping on us,” KU forward Jamari Traylor said, “so we are looking forward to going out there and playing them again.”

The matchup will have a different feel this time as Oklahoma State, 12-13, 3-9 Big 12, likely will be without top guard Jawun Evans.

Evans, a freshman guard who injured his right shoulder against Texas Tech on Feb. 3, has missed Oklahoma State’s last three games. Coach Travis Ford didn’t seem optimistic about a quick recovery when, on Feb. 6, he told the Tulsa World, “I don’t think he’ll be back anytime soon, at this point.”

Evans, who leads the team in scoring, had a standout game against KU in Stillwater. He used his quickness to drive by KU’s perimeter players most of the night, scoring 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting with eight assists and six turnovers.

That performance was enough to impress KU coach Bill Self.

“I think he’s great,” Self said after the game. “I think you can talk about other freshmen in the country; he’s right up there with them.”

Meanwhile, KU’s guard play appears to be on an uptick, especially after Graham’s performance Saturday. He had a career-high 27 points on 8-for-13 shooting while also limiting national player of the year candidate Buddy Hield to 24 points total and no field goals in the first half.

“He just puts us on his shoulders,” Self said. “He was so confident, and he’s got so much personality.”

Monday’s game is an important one for the Jayhawks.

After getting a key road victory Saturday at third-ranked Oklahoma, KU, 21-4, 9-3, would lose much of the ground it made up in the conference race if it slipped up at home against Oklahoma State.

“If we have to play a game on Monday, I’m glad it’s somebody that’s already beaten us,” Self said, “so we can be motivated by that.”

Even Graham, whose effort against OU led to a Sunday morning interview on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” was ready to look ahead.

“We went down there and got embarrassed at Oklahoma State,” Graham said. “It’s time to move on.”

KU beat Oklahoma 76-72 Saturday in Norman

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