Oklahoma St. basketball: Looking back at the Cowboys vs. Coach K

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski today announced his planned retirement from the school following the 2021-2022 season. The 74-year-old coach has coached the Team USA Olympic basketball team in addition to his time at Duke, in which he’s amassed 12 Final Four appearances and five national championships during 46 seasons with the Blue Devils.

Coach K’s impending retirement certainly makes the headlines because he will leave the game as arguably one of the best, if not the greatest, basketball coaches of all time. The longevity of his career, the consistency of his teams’ success on the hardwood, and the respect his current and many former players have for him is almost unrivaled among any college basketball coach besides maybe John Wooden or Dean Smith.

Now that Mike Krzyzewski has announced his retirement as Duke’s head coach, let’s look back at the only occasion that the Blue Devils faced the Cowboys.

In Krzyzewski’s 46 seasons in Durham, Duke has faced OSU just once on the hardwood: the second round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

Though both OU and OSU went to the Big Dance in 1998, neither school got to play in the friendly confines of Oklahoma City’s Myriad Center, which was a first and second round venue host that year. Instead, fans in OKC got to witness Bryce Drew’s memorable game-winning shot for Valparaiso as the Crusaders beat No. 4 seed Ole Miss en route to an improbable Sweet 16 birth.

OSU was a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tourney that year, finishing with a 22-7 (11-5 Big 12) record. The Cowboys had just defeated No. 9 seed George Washington in the first round. Duke, on the other hand, was a No. 1 seed who had flirted with the No. 1 overall AP ranking during the regular season. Coach K led that year’s talent-laden Blue Devils squad with five future NBA players, including Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, and Shane Battier.

Duke outlasted OSU that afternoon, 79-73, in Lexington, Ky. during the teams’ second-round NCAA Tournament meeting. Roshown McLeod led the Blue Devils with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while the Cowboys were led by guard Joe Adkins (20 points and seven assists) and center Brett Robisch (19 points and eight rebounds). Some other notable names filled out OSU’s starting lineup that day: Adrian Peterson, future NBAer Desmond Mason, and a Notre Dame transfer named Doug Gottlieb.

Though Krzyzewki and Duke would lose in the Elite Eight to eventual national champion Kentucky and head coach Tubby Smith, the building blocks were put in place for two future teams to finish as the national runner-up the following season and as the 2001 national champions — Coach K’s third title.

Several OSU players from that year’s team helped Eddie Sutton and the Cowboys advance to the 2000 Elite Eight two seasons later.