STILLWATER, Okla. — In the afterglow of Keiton Page's brilliant performance, Texas coach Rick Barnes hesitated to make an immediate judgment on whether Oklahoma State's shooting star deserves a spot on the all-conference team.
But there was no doubt what he'd just seen was impressive.
"Based on today," Barnes said, "he'd be an All-American."
Page scored a career-high 40 points, Le'Bryan Nash added 18 and Oklahoma State snapped Texas' four-game winning streak by beating the Longhorns 90-78 on Saturday.
Page erupted for 27 first-half points, matching his previous season-best for a game, and ended up becoming only the sixth player in school history to reach the 40-point mark.
"When he's going like that, it's tough to beat us," Nash said. "He did a great job getting open and we found him."
Page hit all 20 of his free throws and coach Travis Ford pulled him from the game with 35 seconds left to a roaring standing ovation from the crowd. The two shared a hug, slapped hands and had another brief embrace before Page greeted the rest of the Cowboys (13-14, 6-8 Big 12) by the bench.
"I'm glad we were able to get him out and get what he deserved. That was great that the crowd recognized him, as you know they would. (It was) just an incredible effort," Ford said. "The guy gets 40 points and the other team's whole game plan is to stop him. That's pretty good."
Myck Kabongo scored a career-high 22 points for Texas (17-10, 7-7) and Big 12 scoring leader J'Covan Brown added 20.
Ford tried to sneak in some rest for Page, but it lasted less than a minute as Texas retaliated with nine straight points. While Page was on the bench, Brown nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner and a jumper in the key to draw the Longhorns within 61-58 midway through the second half.
Ford called timeout to reinsert Page into the game and he almost immediately steadied the Cowboys. A crossover move freed him up for a 3-pointer from the right wing, Cobbins was left alone under the basket for a two-handed slam and Markel Brown added a spinning layup in the lane and a three-point play for a 74-61 advantage with 5:33 remaining. OSU finished with a Big 12 record 43 free throws on 56 attempts.
Brown hit another 3-pointer and two free throws to get Texas back within 74-68 with 3:42 to go, but that's as close as it got. Four Cowboys combined to go 16 of 18 at the foul line the rest of the way, never providing the Longhorns a chance to rally.
"They deserved to win the game. From the very beginning, they did pretty much what they wanted to do the whole day," Barnes said.
Point guard Markel Brown chipped in 12 points with a career-high 11 rebounds and Cobbins tied his career-best by scoring 12. Brian Williams had a career-high six steals for Oklahoma State, which won for only the second time in the last 13 games in the series.
"When your other teammates are playing like that around you and coming up with big plays and you've got momentum like that, it just seems like you can throw it up from anywhere; it was going in tonight," said Page, a 5-foot-9 guard.
The only other Cowboys ever to score 40 points in a game are Bob Kurland (58), Randy Rutherford (45), Arlen Clark (42), Ed Odom (41) and Jameson Curry (40). He was four points shy of tying the Big 12 record shared by Kansas State's Denis Clemente and Michael Beasley.
Sheldon McClellan had 15 points for Texas, which had rallied from halftime deficits in its last two games but couldn't do it on Saturday. The Longhorns fell into a tie with Kansas State for fifth place in the Big 12, with Oklahoma State one game behind in the chase for one of six first-round byes at the conference tournament.
Barnes' teams had allowed Page to total only 36 points in seven previous meetings and had held him scoreless in each of their past two visits to Gallagher-Iba Arena. Those are the only two times Page has been held without a point in the past three seasons.
"We knew previously at Texas they played on top of me quite a bit, and (Ford) just said, 'Be aggressive, go to the hole and try to get to the foul line,'" Page said. "I did a fairly good job of that tonight."
When they weren't leaving Page too open, Texas' players were making too much contact with him. He was twice fouled after he pump-faked on a 3-point shot, and another time on a jumper.
"A player like (Page), when he gets going, he can get going," Barnes said. "We were leaving our feet, fouling him and bailing him out.Comment on this story
"We fouled him in ways that we should never foul, ways we haven't in the past," Barnes said.
Led by Page, the Cowboys jumped out to a 51-39 first-half lead behind 68 percent shooting, which was their best shooting half of the season. They took control with an early run of 11 straight points, with Nash's 3 from the left wing making it 15-8 just over four minutes into the game.
Page provided Oklahoma State's final 13 points of the half, including a pair of 3-pointers, one just before the halftime buzzer, and his second set of three free throws.
"We were just being more physical. That's what we tried to do today and the ref was on his side," J'Covan Brown said. "He was getting calls. Why not keep doing what he was doing?"