By Jeff Latzke
The Associated Press
STILLWATER, Okla. — Kevin Pangos scored 23 points and hit the clinching free throws with 4.3 seconds left, Kelly Olynyk scored all 21 of his points in the second half and No. 10 Gonzaga edged No. 22 Oklahoma State 69-68 on Monday night to spoil one of the Cowboys’ most anticipated nonconference games at Gallagher-Iba Arena in decades.
Marcus Smart led Oklahoma State (10-2) with 23 points but missed two free throws with 8.7 seconds left with the Cowboys trailing by two. Elias Harris grabbed the rebound on Smart’s second miss, and Pangos was fouled in the backcourt before stepping to the line to drill both free throws.
Phil Forte then connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Oklahoma State. Markel Brown contributed 16 points and Forte scored 15 for the Cowboys.
Gonzaga (13-1) completed a perfect five-game sweep of Big 12 competition in nonconference play.
It stacked up as one of the most anticipated home, nonconference games in Oklahoma State’s history. Only four other top 10 teams had played at Gallagher-Iba Arena outside of conference play, and Gonzaga was the first ranked team outside of the Big Eight or Big 12 to visit Stillwater since Memphis in 1989. Louisville was the last top 10 team to play in the building outside of conference play, in 1980.
Booster T. Boone Pickens ensured it would be a capacity crowd by buying up nearly 4,000 tickets that remained unsold and providing for them to be handed out for free. The Zags still found a way to send them home unhappy.
Olynyk, the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer, fought foul trouble in the first half but was able to play through it in the second half.
With Oklahoma State overcoming an early 11-point deficit and moving ahead early in the second half, Zags coach Mark Few put Olynyk back in the game with three fouls and switched to a zone to protect him on the defensive end. Olynyk provided a spark, scoring seven points during a 14-5 surge. His putback of a miss by Elias Harris gave Gonzaga a 54-48 lead midway through the second half.
Smart hit a 3-pointer to spark an immediate 13-4 response, and his spinning layup in the lane put the Cowboys back in the lead before Nash’s jumper made it 61-58 and drew a timeout from Few.
Olynyk had a pair of buckets off of offensive rebounds to put the Zags back on top, before Smart answered with a putback of his own for a 65-64 OSU advantage. After an Oklahoma State timeout, Mike Hart set a screen to free up Gary Bell Jr. for a 3-pointer from the left wing that gave Gonzaga a 67-65 lead with 35.7 seconds left.
Olynyk fouled out while keeping Smart from getting an easy layup for the tie — and it proved to be well worth it as the Bulldogs moved to 5-0 against Oklahoma State in the past eight seasons.
Pangos had a transition layup and a 3-pointer in an early 10-0 burst by Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs pushed their lead out to 19-8 after David Stockton set up Przemek Karnowski’s layup underneath with 11:02 left in the first half. Olynyk came out with two fouls before the midway point of the half, and Oklahoma State roared back with the Zags’ 7-footer on the bench.
Brown and Smart came up with fast-break slams on back-to-back possessions, and Smart followed with a jumper from the right elbow that put the Cowboys up 31-29 in the final 2 minutes. Pangos had the half’s final three points on free throws to give Gonzaga the lead.
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