When Travis Releford knocked a loose ball forward as time struck zero, Kansas head coach Bill Self punched the sky the hardest he ever has since the Jayhawks beat Missouri in the final Border War game.
Clearly, beating Oklahoma State 68-67 in double overtime Wednesday night meant just as much as any of the biggest rivalry games for Kansas.
The play that won the game came from a rather unlikely source. With Elijah Johnson sitting on the bench with five fouls, Naadir Tharpe backed his way into the lane and rolled to his right, dropping in a bucket for the lead and ultimately the win.
"The just made a huge play right there - biggest play of his life, I'm sure," Self said.
"Whenever it left my hand, for whatever reason, I knew it was in," Tharpe said. "Some people tell me that's a big time shot. I'm still disappointed with some previous plays, but at the end of the day we won the game, and thats what we came here to do."
Tharpe made only two baskets all game and finished the game with only four points. Travis Releford had 18 and was a spark plug for two big stretches in the second half.
Offensively, neither team was off the charts: Both teams combined for five three pointers (KU only had one) and Kansas barely broke 41 percent shooting.
Combined with 17 points from Withey and 10 from Johnson, it put Kansas (22-4) into a tie with K-State atop the Big 12 standings, and they got revenge for the loss on February 2nd in Lawrence that started a three-game slide.
"Our whole focus is the win the Big 12," Releford said. "We knew we weren't going to run the table, unfortunately it happened they beat us at home - our focus was just to come in and get a win."
Kansas survived rally after rally from Oklahoma State (19-4) that wanted to win just as badly, maybe even more so in front of a soldout Gallagher-Iba Arena. Markel Brown had 20 points, including a jumper that gave the Cowboys a lead with less than 20 seconds to play in the second overtime. It was a rare bucket that saw only three in both overtimes.
"We had a couple opportunities and didn't make them, but hats off to Kansas, give them credit," Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said.
For a game that finished in two overtimes, saw 16 ties and 23 lead changes - you'd think the game would finish somewhere in the 100's in points but from the final score, it was the opposite and yet the Jayhawks walked out with a win.
"For whatever reason, we have good offensive outputs here," Self said. "I don't think we have ever reached 70 points here and it we went to two overtimes tonight and we still couldn't get there!"
A ninth Big 12 regular season title is within reach but it would be a lot more difficult had Brown made that shot.
We probably still have thr toughest road of anybody but we are still in the game," Self said. "This was huge tonight."
Naadir Tharpe connected on a short jumper in the lane with 16.5 seconds left in the second overtime, lifting No. 9 Kansas to a 68-67 win over No. 14 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
Travis Releford scored 18 points and Jeff Withey had three double-overtime free throws among his 17 points for the Jayhawks (22-4, 10-4 Big 12), who are tied with No. 13 Kansas State for the conference lead with five games to go. Kansas has had at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title for each of the past eight years, but that streak was in jeopardy against the surging Cowboys.
Markel Brown scored 20 points to lead Oklahoma State (19-6, 9-4), which had won seven straight - including snapping the Jayhawks' 33-game home winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse earlier this month.