Upsets are a common part of the sports scene, it just seems to be a bit too common in Norman these days. Less than a week after the Sooners scored the biggest win of the season they fell at home to an unranked Kansas State squad. Many Oklahoma fans expected the party, that started on Monday night with a 70-49 blowout win of Texas, to continue through the weekend but the Wildcats crashed the fun and ruined what had been a four-game winning streak.
"It was a disappointing loss, for sure," Lon Kruger said following the game. "I thought Kansas State played great. I thought they were quicker to loose balls, more physical on the boards, dictated pretty much the majority of the day, and certainly that's disappointing. We have to play better. We have to play better than that to win in the Big 12. Credit Kansas State for that. They played well and did what they needed to and we didn't."
Junior guard Buddy Hield scored a career-high 31 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the floor but he seemed to be the only Oklahoma player to find his touch on offense. The only other player in double figures for the Sooners was TaShawn Thomas (14 points) and he only took eight shots. Kruger was asked after the game what happened on the offensive end of the floor.
"Yeah, again, it seemed like we didn't have that rhythm, didn't have that flow that we normally do. We weren't moving the ball very crisply. Kansas State certainly had something to do with that. Buddy (Hield) was aggressive and making plays for us, which we definitely needed. Again, we have to do a lot of things better."
The Sooners didn't have a rhythm but what about K-State? What did the Wildcats do to limit OU?
"I thought they just dictated by where we were catching, by pushing us out of the post. They were just a little bit more physical than we were in fighting for spots. They kind of won those little battles that kind of go unnoticed sometimes, but I thought they were certainly dictating on both ends."
Junior forward Ryan Spangler added that he didn't feel as if Oklahoma's execution wasn't there against the Wildcats.
"I just don't think we were executing the way we have been lately," Spangler said. "That is something we work on in practice, to go out and execute every play. I don't think we did that tonight."
Monday's win over Texas was huge for this program but Saturday's loss to Kansas State was certainly a setback to the season. Kruger was asked if they had perhaps spent too much time celebrating their win in Austin this week?
"That's human nature. That's what we were talking about all week. Are we good enough, mature enough to handle a couple of good ball games and take care of business again. It's a tough lesson. That's the message that we worked.... again, credit Kansas State for that. That's not just... we were interested, we were trying, but we weren't quite doing the things that you have to do to win. That's what happens when you're not quite as sharp. That's human nature. That's what happens. That's why these things happen, partly."
When you lose a game at home it means that you have to pick one up on the road. Tuesday night will present that opportunity to the Sooners as they travel to play West Virginia. Here's what Kruger had to say about the trip to Morgantown.
"It's a long grind. There are going to be moments where we feel like this. We have to learn from it. We have to prepare for the next one like it's the only one. We have to treat them all with urgency. It's the only healthy way to do it. It's a great league. It's a great league. Hopefully, there are more good moments that we feel good about than the way we feel right now, but that's the nature of the game. We're playing good people every night and we have to do better."
K-State sophomore Marcus Foster hit the game-winner in overtime with Oklahoma's Buddy Hield in his face. Here's what the junior star said about that final shot.
"When you give a good player any good look he is going to take that shot. I thought I contested it really well, but when you are playing against a good player, any shot is a good shot for him. He elevated and put up a good shot. There's nothing I could do about it."