It was a game that could make or break the Oklahoma Sooners basketball season. After a hot start, the Sooners had hit a rough patch, dropping three out of their last four games. Needless to say, the Sooners confidence level was in need of a lift. The opportunity was laying right in front of them, as they headed to Stillwater for a bitter bedlam game against an Oklahoma State Cowboys team who had gotten off to a dismal 8-7 start. What sweeter way to snap a losing streak than against your rival?
The opportunity was in the air, and more and more would continue to be thrown at them throughout the game. Time and time again,Oklahoma State would make careless turnovers, allowing for what normally would have been easy fast break points for the Sooners. Not today, however. The Sooners couldn’t seem to get the lid off the rim, failing to capitalize on the easy possessions given freely to them.
In a way, you could say the Sooners only doomed themselves, countering a lackadaisical effort with more lackadaisical effort.
Even when the light finally did click, and the lid was lifted, it was too late. The Sooners, cut the lead within five with just 40 seconds left in regulation, but were forced into fouling to stay alive, and the Cowboys converted, propelling themselves to victory, 72-65.
As mentioned, the Sooners were very unsuccessful in their attempts to shoot the ball for the most part this evening, going just 32% from the floor and 23% from beyond the arc.
Once again though, Oklahoma must be credited for their continued hard work on the glass. They consistently show up on the boards each night and even in a loss, it was no exception as they outrebounded the Cowboys by six tonight. Their rebounding was a major part of what allowed them in the game for so long, and had they had only been able to make a few of the putback attempts, it would be an entirely different headline.
If the blame today where to be put on any one man, it would likely not be Carl Blair. The junior put his teammates on his shoulders, and was really the reason Oklahoma was even in contention in the final seconds of the game. He poured in a Sooner career-high 20 points in a reserve role, making a living at the charity stripe where he shot 6-7. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and robbed the Cowboys of five possessions with his steals, a performance that is certainly Sooner Player of the Game worthy.
Romero Osby also played exceptionally well tonight, with a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds) of his own. Post man Andrew Fitzgerald was the only other Sooner in double figures, in a game where OU scored the most of what points there were able to muster inside, as he added 12 points.
With this loss the Sooners have gotten off to an 0-3 start in league play, certainly not indicative of their 10-2 record outside of the conference. They will look towards Kansas State in an effort to snap the three game skid and earn their first conference triumph. A great deal of the Sooners season will hinge on this game, as a win could boost their resume come March, as well as feed them some confidence to ride into the next stretch of games. It could end up being a major turning point in the season of Sooner hoops.
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