The Sooners come up short in a close battle against the shockers, 76-73. Oklahoma competed with Wichita State the entire game, but were not able to assemble a consistent performance once again. The depth of Wichita State was too much for OU to handle in this clash. Here is what you need to know.
A combined total of 15 players played in the first four minutes of this clashing between both teams. This is a true testament to the coaches trust in their teams, and the depth possessed on both sides. Rashard Odomes provided the fire for the Sooners' squad to begin the game with a 6 points and 2 rebounds in the first five minutes of play. Odomes put on a highlight dunk as he penetrated the paint and glided in the air, finishing with the left-handed slam.
Uncharacteristically, OU began the game 0-6 from the 3-point line. Entering this matchup, Oklahoma had been shooting 41.9 percent behind the arch, and were 9th in the country for 3-point field goal percentage. On the other end, the Shockers could not miss from downtown, beginning the game 4-7 from the 3-point line. However, the aggressiveness of the guards compensated for the slow shooting start.
Despite a slow shooting start, the Sooners started to heat up halfway through the first half. Oklahoma went on a shooting streak knocking down five of their seven field goals, and tied up the game at 22 off of a jump shot by Kristian Doolittle at the 9:36 mark. The penetration of OU broke down this Shocker defense, with the Sooners scoring 12 of their first 22 points in the paint. They also managed to draw fouls attacking the basket, and went 8-10 from the penalty strike half way through the first half.
Matt Freeman ended the OU drought from the 3-point line, sinking a wide-open corner 3-pointer to give Oklahoma its' first lead since the score was 8-7. This was followed by a 10-second violation forced by the Sooners, giving Lon and his crew some momentum in this back and forth battle.
This "All-College Classic" began to really heat up when Markis McDuffie stole a pass at halfcourt followed by a foul on Dante Buford, which sent WSU to the free throw line for the first time. McDuffie began to pump up the crowd walking down the court, which did not please these Sooners. Christian James made sure to send a message to the Shockers' bench as he knocked down a 3-pointer, turned around, and stared down the bench to send a message. This gave OU a 32-29 lead.
A Jordan Woodard 3-pointer gave Oklahoma a 37-31 lead with 3:09 to go in the half. However, the Sooners suffered from one of their routine field goal droughts, and did not score another field goal in the half. Due to some ticky tack fouls by the refs trying to even up the foul count, Wichita State chipped away and clawed their way back to be down 39-37 at half.
The Sooners going into the game shot 68.9 percent from the free throw line, but went 14-16 in the first half. This helped make up for them shooting 11-35 from the field and 3-14 from downtown. The OU pressure made WSU turn the ball over nine times in the first half, with Oklahoma capitalizing and getting 11 points off these turnovers. However, the Shockers had the advantage in their depth chart, with 22 of their 37 points coming off the bench. OU only had 11 points from the bench. Both teams flexed their talent across the board with both teams having seven players score in the first half. A total of 20 players played in the first half as well.
The second half opened in the same fashion that the game started with; A lot of energy with guys flying all over the court. Woodard came out ready to attack, tallying four free throws early into the second half. Buford crashed the boards on a missed bucket, and threw it down for the two-handed put back dunk. However, an early substitute for the Shockers, Zach Brown, helped keep the Shockers in it with two 3-pointers. OU held a one-point lead over WSU at the first media timeout.
Both teams began to struggle in the second half trying to find a way to score points. With 11:59 to go in the half, the game was knotted up 48-48. Up to this point, OU had made one of their last seven shots and the Shockers had made one of their last 13 from the field.
OU's offense became stagnant without their senior leader on the court, resulting in Wichita State solidifying a 3-point lead with 9:24 to play. The Shockers' defense and crowd began to roar, giving Oklahoma space to shoot but taking away the open lanes to the basket. The Sooners' lack of confidence of shooting hurt them in this stretch, with one possession resulting in a shot clock violation.
Daishon Smith put Doolittle on a poster with 8:31 to play, and followed that up with a steal from Woodard and got fouled on the shot. After the media timeout, Smith shortly acquired another steal and layup for WSU. Smith's personal 6-0 run gave the Shockers a 9-point lead and their largest lead of the game up until this point.
At the 5:41 mark, OU suffered from a field goal drought of 5:52 and were down 59-52. Who do the Sooners go to? Woodard. Free throws. The most consistent offense from Oklahoma came from the charity-strike. Woodard was then able to knock down a 3-pointer to cut the Shocker lead to four points with five minutes to play.
The nail in the coffin for the Sooners came off of a missed free throw by James, followed up with a 3-pointer on the other end to give the Shockers an 8-point lead with 1:57 left to play. Smith, who did not score in the first half, managed to put up 11 points in the second the seal the win for the Shockers. Woodard managed to cut down this Shockers' lead to just one point with a little over two seconds left, but Oklahoma did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
Oklahoma continues to have second-half struggles that ultimately lead to giving away winnable games. OU put on a poor shooting performance, with only shooting 31 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point line. Woodard carried this team, putting up 28 points, 7 rebounds and four assists. James fouled out in this matchup, but not before scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. Odomes (10 points) and Doolittle (8 points) both contributed and tried to help balance out the input. The biggest factor in this game today: WSU had 40 points off the bench while OU only had 13 points from their players off the bench.
The Sooners drop to 6-3 in this tough, close battle. Oklahoma could have secured this one, but the second half nightmares continue. The Sooners next matchup will be December 17th against the Memphis Wildcats at home. Tip-off will be at 11:30 AM.