MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Oregon had never, in its 105-year history, been in this position: on the road, facing a ranked opponent outside its conference.
Overwhelming? Maybe at first. Then the Ducks got over it.
Bryce Taylor scored 11 of his 18 points after halftime, and Maarty Leunen had 14 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 17 Oregon rally from a shaky start then hold off Kansas State (Unranked ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) 80-77 in overtime Thursday night.
"It was all about confidence," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "I didn't think we were playing with much confidence in the first half. We just talked about being free, just go out and play, have fun. This is a great environment, it's a nationally televised game, so just go have fun and enjoy the game."
The Ducks sure did, though only after getting caught up in the moment.
Facing a ranked nonconference opponent for the first time in five years, Oregon (6-1) came out flat, missing open shots -- 3-for-15 from 3-point range in the first half -- and struggling defensively as Kansas State rode the momentum of a raucous crowd to jump to an early lead.
But the Ducks settled down late in the half, hit some big shots down the stretch in regulation, then finished it off by overpowering the Wildcats in overtime.
"It just turned out to be a great road win for us because this is a team that's still in transition, trying to find which man or men is going to be that Aaron Brooks," Kent said.
Oregon wasn't the only one in unfamiliar territory.
Kansas State (5-2) hadn't faced a ranked nonconference opponent at home since 2000, and Manhattan hadn't seen two ranked teams on the same court since No. 1 Missouri beat 14th-ranked Kansas State by one in 1982.
The Wildcats, ranked this year for the first time since 1993, didn't seem bothered by the new environment, slowing down the high-scoring Ducks to take an early 10-point lead. But Kansas State struggled from the perimeter -- 8-for-27 from 3-point range -- and missed four free throws in overtime, finishing 5-of-12 from the line.
The difference, though, was experience. While Oregon has four of its five starters back from last season, Kansas State starts three freshmen. The Wildcats were fine early, when things were going well, but made some mistakes late that cost them a chance at what would have been their biggest win of the season.
"There's a reason why IBM doesn't go out and hire 18-year-old high school graduates," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "They go out and hire guys that graduated from college, and there's a reason for that."
The first mistake came at the end of regulation.
Freshman Michael Beasley, who led Kansas State with 24 points and 14 rebounds, had just given the Wildcats a 71-70 lead by scoring on a hard post move with 26 seconds left. Needing a defensive stop, Kansas State instead gave up three offensive rebounds to Leunen, who was fouled and made one free throw with 6 seconds left to tie it.
The Wildcats had a chance despite the missed free throws in overtime, trailing by three and the ball in Andre Gilbert's hands. But instead of pulling up for a 3-pointer, Gilbert, who finished with 16 points, started driving to the basket. The crowd screamed and Gilbert tried to kick the ball out, but not in time to get off a shot.
"That's solely on me, not the kids," said Martin, who had to burn a timeout with a minute left because of a bad substitution. "There's no way we don't shoot a 3 there. For us not to get a shot off is inexcusable, and that's completely on my shoulders."
Kansas State found a way to hold Oregon down early, keeping the Ducks from getting out on the break, making them work for every shot. Oregon took just seven 3-point shots in the first half, making two, and managed 29 points -- 14 below its average.
The Ducks started to turn it around midway through the second half, with Taylor hitting two 3-pointers and Porter dropping in another during an 11-2 run that put them up 66-60. Beasley helped lead the Wildcats back, hitting Blake Young on a fast break, then splitting two defenders for a bank shot that put Kansas State up 67-66.
Kansas State thought it had won the game when Jacob Pullen scored on a driving layup, but Catron slid under him to get the charge with 2.6 seconds left. A final chance, after the Wildcats intercepted a long inbound pass, came up short when Beasley's turnaround 3-pointer hit the side of the rim.
Kansas State scored first in overtime, but Taylor hit a 3-pointer and Catron scored inside to put the Ducks up for good.
"We struggled a little get going, but we pulled it off in the end," Porter said. "It was a great win. It means to a lot to us."
- Steve Welmer
- Steve Olson
- John Higgins