The Oklahoma Sooners were defeated by the Texas Longhorns 77-66. The loss makes it five straight losses overall, and a regular season sweep for UT. Trae Young scored 26 points and recorded seven assists.
Probably the only highlight of the game was when Baker Mayfield graced the court and allowed us all to forget about the atrocity that is Oklahoma basketball. It was close to a packed house in the Lloyd Noble Center, and it was a nice scene when the Heisman Trophy winner was given a standing ovation with the hardware in hand.
Now back to reality. Ugh.
- To put it mildly, the offense was absolutely abysmal. Overall, Oklahoma went 19-63 from the field, including 8-30 from beyond the arc. When half the makes and attempts are from the outside, those shots need to be made or else the team needs to take higher percentage shots. Attacking the rim and scoring in the paint should be much more prioritized, especially when the three ball isn’t falling with any sort of consistency, no matter how good the looks are.
- Part of the struggles for the Sooners has been getting beaten consistently on the 50/50 balls. Today was slightly different, because while Oklahoma doubled up Texas on the offensive glass eight to four, the Longhorns dominated the boards overall 43 to 32. Those number, however, can be largely attributed to Oklahoma’s horrible shooting. But as a team, Oklahoma just appears weak when it comes to rebounding. Yes, a guy like Mohamed Bamba is going to win his share of battles around the basket, but one player should not be enough to dominate the way the Sooners have been dominated on the glass. Players are constantly boxed out and out of position, and the effort to grab loose balls is almost non-existent. It seems as though the spark that this team once had has flamed out.
- Once again, Trae Young was by far and away the leading scorer. The Sooners just don’t have a reliable second option, and the bench play is a liability. Today, there were 14 points scored by the bench players and 26 points from the four starters not named Trae Young. If the Sooners want to develop depth in the future, recruiting has to pick up in a big way, and the coaching needs to step up, from the top down and across the board. There are serious issues, and the issues need to be addressed before Oklahoma becomes a regular bottom feeder in the Big 12 Conference.
- The defensive effort down the stretch was atrocious yet again. Players were getting to the bucket for uncontested attempts during the most important stretches of the game, which just can’t happen. Some of that comes down to discipline, but a lot of it also comes down to effort. Oklahoma has been deficient in both areas for quite some time.
- Apparently, Trae Young was also limited physically. I’m not sure exactly when the mentioned incident happened, but it’s a shame that the rest of the team didn’t step up when he needed their contributions most. Young did finish the game though, so the severity at this point doesn’t appear to be high.
Trae Young says he banged knees with Kerwin Roach early in the game, limited his burst throughout the game— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) February 17, 2018
In a quick turnaround from today’s game, the Oklahoma Sooners will travel to Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Monday to take on the cream of the Big 12 crop, the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks. The Sooners won the first meeting in Norman in exciting fashion, 85-80. KU head coach Bill Self was outcoached by Lon Kruger late in the game when the Sooners employed the hack-a strategy against Udoka Azubuike. Self kept Azubuike in the game, but that stubbornness proved to be the difference in the game. The Jayhawks are in second place in the Big 12 standings coming into Saturday, and could be atop the conference come Monday. Oklahoma has several big wins on its resume already, but now that its on a five game losing streak, Oklahoma could use a win of this magnitude for a much needed confidence boost.
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