Jordan Woodard’s scary late-game knee injury ended an already dismal evening in Ames for the Oklahoma Sooners, as the dropped their second contest to the Cyclones and their seventh straight game. The storyline has become familiar: OU hung tough for large stretches of the game, but let things slip away away in the 80-64 loss.
But hey, they didn’t blow a lead in the final minute. So there’s that.
The Sooners had the game all tied up as late as the 15-minute mark in this one, catching the Cyclones at 41-all as ISU’s scoring slowed. But State’s experience made the difference in this one, as the team was able to respond well to Sooners scoring runs and finished the game with a crucial +10 differential in the turnover department, with 4 to OU’s 14.
Just five minutes after OU’s final tie, Iowa State had the lead up to 11 behind a 13-2 run and a barrage of Cyclones offense. Naz Mitrou-Long, especially, was too much for the Sooners all night, hitting five dagger threes and finishing the night with a team-high 23 points.
Iowa State ended OU’s hopes with a 21-4 run through the middle of the second half, a run that ended with Khadeem Lattin free throws after he went down hard on a Jordan Woodard inbounds lob. Lattin pulled down an impressive 9 rebounds during the game, but his 7 points demonstrated once again that he is not the offensive force the Sooners have needed.
One possession after the botched lob, Woodard’s knee caved as he drove to the basket, and he went to the locker room minutes later.
Iowa State started the game hot, jumping out to a 13-5 lead as — who else? — Mitrou-Long started the game with a three. But Oklahoma clawed back behind strong play from Darrion Strong-Moore and trimmed the lead down to 21-18 halfway through the period.
Oklahoma took its only lead with 3:39 left in the half, going up 29-28 after a Woodard layup. It looked like the Sooners might be able to take a big lead into halftime — until the Cyclones came out swinging and ended the frame on a 10-0 run.
Impressively, OU didn’t fold and was able to battle back to another tie ballgame in the second half. But Kameron McGusty (who finished with a team-high 13 points in just 21 minutes, extending his double-digit scoring streak) rode the pine for most of the second half. He didn’t shoot well in the first frame, and maybe Kruger wanted to try some lineups without him, but his absence was noticeable as Iowa State responded yet again and the game slipped out of reach.
The Sooners are now 8-16, 2-10 in the Big 12. It’s been an absolutely nightmarish season, and it’s impossible to say yet if Woodard will see the floor again. But maybe Lon can develop guys like McGusty, Doolittle and McNeace in the final weeks.
OU returns to action on Tuesday at 8 p.m. when they host the Lexas Tonghorns on ESPN2.