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Harkless powers Oklahoma past K-State in Big 12 opener 71-69

Kansas State guard Mark Smith (13) goes to the basket in front of Oklahoma forward Ethan...
Kansas State guard Mark Smith (13) goes to the basket in front of Oklahoma forward Ethan Chargois (15) and forward Jalen Hill, center, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)(Sue Ogrocki | AP)
Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 9:48 PM CST
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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Elijah Harkless sank a go-ahead jumper with 35 seconds remaining, scoring 21 points to spark Oklahoma to a 71-69 victory over Kansas State in a Big 12 Conference opener on Saturday night.

The basket by Harkless came after Kansas State battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 65 on Ismael Massoud’s 3-pointer with 63 seconds left. Umoja Gibson added 19 points, going 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the final 17 seconds. Gibson missed his only 2-point try and made just 4 of 12 from beyond the arc, but he was 7 of 7 at the foul line.

Harkless was 4 of 4 from distance and grabbed seven rebounds for the Sooners (11-2). Jordan Goldwire added 11 points, while Jalen Hill and reserve C.J. Noland both scored 10.

Mark Smith scored 14 of his career-high 25 points in the second half for the Wildcats (8-4), who trailed 33-22 at intermission. He added a career-best 16 rebounds to post his fourth double-double of the season. Nijel Pack added 17 points, while Massoud scored 13.

Kansas State used eight steals to forge a 17-6 advantage in fast-break points. The Wildcats were playing for the first time since Dec. 21 after North Florida had to cancel a Dec. 29 match-up because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

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