NORMAN, Okla. — Marcus Foster’s time in the doghouse is over.
Kansas State’s sophomore guard had been pulled from the starting lineup for the first two games of Big 12 play but returned in a big way at No. 16 Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Foster hit a runner in the closing seconds of regulation to keep the Wildcats alive, then nailed a 3-pointer as time wound down in overtime to lift Kansas State to a 66-63 upset of the Sooners.
Foster came into the season as an all-conference pick but dropped out of the starting lineup following a two-point performance in a loss to Georgia on Dec. 31. Foster was scoreless in Kansas State’s Big 12 opener.
But he rounded into form in a win over TCU on Wednesday with 23 points and then returned to the starting lineup with a bang against the Sooners.
“The last thing I put on the board: ‘Somebody be special,'” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “Obviously Marcus was really special early. He struggled in the middle with foul trouble, got tired and then he made some huge plays.”
Foster finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
“I’m getting my confidence back,” Foster said. “I think I was worried about too many other things going on and now I am just playing. Now I am playing better than I was.”
In preparation for the game, Weber noticed a weakness in Oklahoma’s normally stingy defense and exploited it early, primarily with sophomore guard Jevon Thomas.
But as regulation wound down, Weber started running the play through Foster.
“We put a little attack in that we saw some people have some luck against them and we ran it a lot during the game,” Weber said. “The runner was unbelievable and then he came and got the layup, which we’d been asking him to go hard in overtime, but then obviously the huge three at the end was big time.”
Each time Foster hit those shots, the Sooners had chances to respond.
To end regulation, sophomore point guard Jordan Woodard’s 3-pointer bounced on the rim twice before bounding out to send the game to overtime.
Then, after Foster’s 3-pointer, senior forward TaShawn Thomas’ 3-pointer went long to give the Wildcats (9-7, 2-1 Big 12) the upset.
Buddy Hield was fantastic for the Sooners (11-4, 2-1).
The junior guard scored a career-high 31 points, including 20 in the first half, to keep Oklahoma afloat most of the night.
But outside of Hield, the Sooners struggled to do much offensively.
“It seemed like we didn’t have a rhythm, didn’t have that flow that we normally do,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We weren’t moving the ball very crisply. Kansas State certainly had something to do with that. Buddy was aggressive and making plays for us, which we definitely needed. Again, we have to do a lot of things better.”
Hield and Thomas were a combined 16 of 28 from the floor. The rest of the Sooners were 7 of 29.
Kansas State fought through foul trouble for most of the second half, with both senior forward Thomas Gipson and Foster sitting for long stretches due to foul trouble.
Both players picked up their third foul in the first two minutes of the second half.
The game took a turn with about 12 minutes remaining when Gipson was called for his fourth foul.
A few minutes later, Oklahoma junior forward Ryan Spangler leaped up near midcourt to steal an inbounds pass and took it the other way, finishing with a monstrous dunk to put Oklahoma ahead.
The Wildcats went back ahead briefly but Oklahoma seemingly took over for good when Hield came down to block Gipson’s shot with just more than three minutes remaining.
Hield’s block helped lead to Thomas hitting a pair of free throws to give Oklahoma its first two-possession lead of the game.
But the Wildcats clawed back to keep it a one-possession game, in part thanks to a missed free throw by the Sooners in the final minute, and Foster took advantage.
“We just have to do better at getting ready and coming out attacking people to get guys going earlier,” Hield said.
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