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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: OU Falls to Iowa State in 92-87 Thriller

The Sooners blew a 19-point lead to give away a winnable game at home against the veteran Cyclones.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma and Iowa State like to go down to the wire. You didn’t expect any less, did you? No lead has been safe when these two teams have met over the last few seasons, and this one was no different. Every game in this conference is a must-win, and the Sooners were going for their third straight win against an Iowa State squad who came in losers of two straight. If you missed the game, here are 10 bullet points to help you recap the 92-87 home loss in double overtime for Oklahoma.

  • The Sooners came out attacking the paint right away. Kameron McGusty and Rashard Odomes opened scoring at foul line while Kristian Doolittle and Khadeem Lattin quickly established their presence inside from the get-go. Then, the shots started falling from outside.
  • OU looked confident and assertive on offense and disciplined and active on defense. Five minutes into the game, Iowa State had two points on the board and McGusty looked to be finding a groove. Eight minutes into the game, the Sooners got out to a double-digit lead surprisingly without a single point from leading scorer Jordan Woodard.
  • These Sooners are young. They don’t let you forget that. After getting out to a 19-point lead, the sloppiness began in spectacular fashion. Wild, confused and all over the place, OU’s inexperience allowed the veteran ‘Clones to fight all the way back in a flash with a 21-1 run of their own, sparked by a barrage of threes from Matt Thomas, Naz Mitrou-Long and company.
  • OU missed layup after layup in an absurd stretch to close the first half. Umm, could this squad’s uncanny lack of aim near the rim be a cause of concern?
  • Jordan Woodard was held scoreless in the first half, missing his four first-half shots (rather badly), but took little time to get back on track in the second. The senior star finished with 21 points and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and got the Sooners offense back in flow for most of the second half.
  • As the game opened up, another Big 12 nail biter was building to inevitability. The touted point guard matchup between Monte Morris and Jordan Woodard was also heating up. Morris, sitting at two points at half, came alive to finish with 19 points and eight assists. Led by Woodard, the Sooners clung to a three-point lead with two minutes to go.
  • Then, the rim grew a lid again and the offense disappeared before Kristian Doolittle went to work on the glass. The freshman was the difference maker, coming up with crucial put backs and second chances after a bogus fifth foul on Jamuni McNeace sent him off the floor and Lattin was saddled with foul trouble of his own. The Sooners outrebounded the Cyclones 50-41 on the afternoon led by Doolittle’s 15.
  • Deonte Burton, who finished with 31 points, found his groove late for the Cyclones and became a matchup nightmare with OU’s bigs in foul trouble. ISU answered each OU basket with their own, and the former transfer Burton threw down a big dunk down the lane to tie it up with 16 seconds left. For the second straight game, Oklahoma was headed to overtime.
  • Fifth-year senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long was spectacular in the first OT, scoring six of his 20 points in extra time including a deep three to tie the game at 78. The Sooners couldn’t contain the Cyclones’ big three of Morris, Burton and Mitrou-Long down the stretch…and on we went to a second overtime. Sigh.
  • The Sooners offense was in full disarray to begin the second extra period. Momentum had been killed over and over on this afternoon by Iowa State, and the tired legs were starting to show. Mistakes and a lack of flow on offense allowed the veteran Cyclones to build an 86-80 lead on the other end. Steve Prohm’s squad wouldn’t look back and held on to win, 92-87, after two overtimes in Norman.


1) Dante Buford and Christian James Showed Up, Finally.

Buford and James looked a little more comfortable in the first half and continued to make plays in the second. Buford, after playing some of his best ball against the Cyclones last season, finished with 10 points and started off with a couple of easy layups and a deep three early, as the redshirt sophomore appears to be gaining back his identity and confidence, finally. James was aggressive and scored inside and out and also looked better than he has in awhile.

2) Turnover city

The Sooners are a very sloppy team. As Fran Fraschilla said it, young teams are prone to “flashes of brilliance followed by flashes of ineptitude.” But this will undoubtedly improve and after winning the turnover battle in Morgantown last week, the good outweighs the bad. But there will be blown leads all season. Guess we should just enjoy the theatrics of it all.

3) Lon Kruger has found his rotation. But Jordan Woodard may have to play every minute for the rest of the season.

While McGusty is looking more and more the part of a young Buddy Hield and Odomes and Doolittle continue to make plays, the Sooners’ lack of a backup playmaker and floor general is still their most glaring weakness. This will improve as Jordan Shepherd and Darrion Strong-Moore develop. And perhaps McGusty will take on more ball-handling responsibilities when Woodard needs a breather, similar to his single-handedly breaking the WVU press on a couple of occasions last week. But it’s looking like Jordan Woodard may never see the bench the rest of the season. And another late airball to tie is possible with the tired legs he’s going to have the rest of the way, too.

That all said, this Sooner squad does have unbelievable upside, possibly more than any other team in the conference. Speaking of young teams, Texas is next up on Big Monday. After giving away the game today against the Cyclones, nothing would serve as a bigger bounce back than a win against Shaka Smart’s Longhorns. Another must-win game in the Big 12. Get your popcorn (or anything else) ready (to throw at the TV), Sooner Nation. The game will be on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT.