The Sooners had a few things going for them in the first half of Friday's Battle 4 Atlantis championship game. They were beating #2 Wisconsin on the boards and on the free throw line. They also had a couple of knocks against them. They were inconsistent from the floor and they were turning the ball over like it was a used mattress.
When the rebounds and free throws stopped in the second half the game turned south quickly. A one-point halftime deficit grew to fifteen in just seven minutes. Shots weren't falling for Oklahoma and the handles on the ball were greased. The final stat line read 37% shooting from the floor (25% from 3), 21 turnovers, and a 69-56 loss.
Dinjiyl Walker came off the bench to lead the Sooners in scoring with 10 points. Buddy Hield led Oklahoma's starters with nine points but was a far cry from the player we saw in the first two games of the tournament, going just 2-11 from the floor.
As frustrating as the loss was I wouldn't hang my head over it. With Oklahoma's side of the bracket featuring #5 North Carolina and #22 UCLA it was easy to see how the Sooners could have gone 1-2 in the Bahamas. Instead they handled UCLA in the first game and the won convincingly over over Butler after the Bulldogs shocked the Tar Heels in the opening round. Considering the field I would say that a second place finish in this tournament was pretty impressive.
"We know so much more about our club right now than we did three days ago, the goods, bads, everything in between," Lon Kruger said. "That's the value of playing in a quality tournament like this."
The season is still young and Kruger has more to work with this season than he has had in his tenure at Oklahoma. Yes, there are still things to work on (turnovers) and continue to get better at but no one is going to walk away saying that OU failed to impress at Atlantis. In fact, it's quite the opposite. They served notice and most likely played themselves back into the Top 25. Not a bad way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday.