LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- In a classic offensive battle with first place in the Big 12 Conference on the line, a career-best performance by Wayne Simien was the difference.
Simien scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as seventh-ranked Kansas extended No. 4 Oklahoma State's misery at Allen Fieldhouse with an 81-79 victory that lifted the Jayhawks into sole possession of first place.
With the Cowboys (20-5, 10-4 Big 12) winless here in 11 tries since 1989, Simien came out shooting in a contest that featured two top-ranked teams at the brink of offensive efficiency.
"I don't think I have ever been a part of a better basketball game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "The atmosphere was great, the stakes were high, the game was well-officiated, they (Oklahoma State) only had nine turnovers and we had 10. Just when you think one team has control, the other team would step up and make plays. It was awesome. This will go down as one of the great ones to ever be played in this building."
Simien made his first five shots en route to an 11-of-17 shooting performance. The conference player of the year candidate also went 10-of-11 from the stripe as he bettered his previous career best, a 31-point contest against Missouri last March.
"He shot it great," Self said. "We have struggled getting the ball to him. We knew that having Christian (Moody) in the game would help. Our guys did a good job looking for Wayne. Let's call it like it is, Wayne put us on his shoulders today. Everybody played great, but he was a man out there today."
His hot shooting highlighted a sizzling effort by Kansas, which made 66 percent (31-of-47) to avoid its first four-game losing streak in 16 years. Oklahoma State, unable to match the Jayhawks' stellar performance at 59 percent (31-of-53), did convert 9-of-19 from the arc to stay in the contest.
Joey Graham and John Lucas made consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 10-0 run that gave the Cowboys a 74-67 lead with 5:49 to play.
With the Jayhawks (21-4, 11-3) trailing, Simien forced his will, getting to the free throw line six times down the stretch and making them all, including a pair with 1:34 remaining that tied the contest at 78-78.
"(Kansas) came out and hit some big shots," said Graham about the game's final minutes. "(Simien) hit a couple of big free throws. They just took the lead after that. Kansas picked up its defense and we picked up our defense. It was tough for both teams to get shots. Unfortunately, we came down and fouled them a few times."
John Lucas tried to return the lead to Oklahoma State on its next possession, but came up short on a floater in the lane - his first miss on 10 attempts. Jeff Hawkins grabbed the rebound for Kansas and Aaron Miles made the go-ahead layup with 39 seconds left.
JamesOn Curry was fouled on a drive to the basket on the Cowboys' next possession but made just 1-of-2 from the line to cut the deficit to 80-79 with 25 seconds left. After Oklahoma State fouled, Miles split a pair from the charity stripe.
With the clock winding down, Oklahoma State had a chance to snap its lengthy losing streak here but Lucas' 3-pointer with three seconds left fell short and the loose ball went out of bounds as the buzzer sounded.
"We wanted John to shoot it," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said. "I thought that when the ball went airborne, it looked like it was going to go in."
Keith Langford scored 14 points, Miles 13 and Moody added 11 in his first contest back after a two-game absence with a staph infection on his knee for Kansas, which outscored Oklahoma State in the paint, 36-18.
"People take him for granted, but how valuable is Christian Moody? We just look like a totally different team with him out there," Self said. "To put a guy that walked-on here against a player like (Joey) Graham was a lot to ask, but he responded."
Lucas had 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Graham added 19 for Oklahoma State, which absorbed its first loss to a top 10 team in six games, the last coming in Lawrence to Kansas on March 1, 2003.