Stillwater, Okla. — Travis Ford waited until about five minutes before the Bedlam rivalry game to have a team manager bring in the special suit jacket he was going to wear.
It was the brightest shade of orange, just like the one women’s coach Kurt Budke used to wear when his Cowgirls faced rival Oklahoma.
After the game, Oklahoma State was able to present a game ball to Budke’s widow in celebration of a victory intended to honor him.
Freshman Le’Bryan Nash tied his career high with 21 points, Keiton Page scored 18 and Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma, 72-65, Monday night.
It was the first basketball installment of the rivalry since Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were among four people killed in a Nov. 17 plane crash.
“I always thought it was kind of neat that he did it on Bedlam,” Ford said. “I kind of thought about it in years past. It was kind of his thing.
“We kept it under wraps. I wanted to just honor him by it.”
Ford didn’t even tell his players until the game was almost ready to start, then told them the story of how the Cowgirls had upset No. 6 Oklahoma the first time Budke came out wearing the orange jacket.
“Let’s go represent that in the right way,” Ford told them.
The Cowboys (9-7, 2-1 Big 12) didn’t trail after the first four minutes and hung on to pick up their fourth win in the last five games in the rivalry.
Carl Blair scored a season-high 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Romero Osby had a career-best 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Oklahoma (10-5, 0-3).
The Sooners have lost their first three games in Big 12 play for the second straight season and only the third time since the conference was created.
After a 9-1 start, Oklahoma has lost four of five.
“Conference play’s tough,” coach Lon Kruger said.