Trading blows in the waning minutes, the Oklahoma Sooners took a 75-72 over the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. Advancing the inbounds pass past the time line, the Tigers exhausted a timeout. Unable to connect on the shot, Jordan Woodard secured the rebound waiting to be fouled. Knowing the game could potentially be decided on free throws the junior guard stepped up to the line after witnessing Khadeem Lattin miss an attempt moments ago.
Suffering the same fate, Tim Quarterman pushed the ball up the court landing in Antonio Blakeney's hands. Dancing around at the three-point line as he had done all game long, Blakeney stepped back drilling one from range tying the game at 75-75. Hoping to answer, Lon Kruger drew up a set play allowing Isaiah Cousins to play one-on-one with the game on the line. Driving toward the elbow, Cousins found his spot, pulled the trigger and knocked down the shot.
With one final effort, Quarterback took the ball coast to coast before watching Lattin slide over for the block to seal the 77-75 win. However, one question lingered on throughout a majority of the game....
Where was Ben Simmons?
The nation's top recruit and projected No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Pick attempted seven shots through 39 minutes of play. Many will place the blame on the coach for the lack of plays drawn up for the 6-10 forward. Others look toward a lack of aggressiveness on the offensive side of the court. Regardless, Simmons has the talent to take over a game in a moments notice. Flashing the unlimited potential caught at least one opposing player's attention.
Buddy Hield noted, "[Siimons] best years are ahead" in a post game interview.
The freshman phenom finished with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Leading the way, Quarterman connected on all five three point shots finishing with a team high 18 points. Helping the cause, Craig Victor added another 15 while Blakeney poured in 11 off the bench.
For the Sooners, Hield tallied another 30 point game with a game high 32 scored behind eight three point shots. If Hield isn't your National Player of the Year vote,he should be now! Yet, Ryan Spangler set the tone early keeping Oklahoma in the game. The senior forward finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds adding another double-double to his career stat line. Last but certainly not least, Cousins 18 points and seven assists were vital in the come from behind victory.
Oklahoma may have struggled while the Tigers defense settled in forcing shooters of the perimeter. It was only a matter of time before the dam broke leading to a surge. The Sooners finished the contest shooting 48.3% from behind the arc. Yet, the most notable trait was the experience. Not rushing with a large deficit and the shot clock winding down, OU pulled out another close game on the road.