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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: OU suffers brutal loss to West Virginia

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Oklahoma played good defense in the second half, but the effort came too late.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners fall short to the West Virginia Mountaineers 75-73 in a hard fought comeback attempt. Trae Young scored 32 points on 10-20 shooting, including a respectable 4-10 from three point range. WVU’s defense was smothering once again, and once again the West boys from out east bested the Sooners on the hardwood.

Takeaways:

  • The defense wasn’t completely atrocious throughout the game, primarily in the second half. Still, when you give up 50 points in the first half to a team that plays defense as well as the Mountaineers, it’s hard to score enough points to keep up. Lon Kruger and the coaching staff need to make the in-game adjustments a lot sooner in order to make a comeback more plausible.
  • The supporting cast has been largely abysmal for a while now. Nobody outside of Trae Young has played with any amount of consistency, especially on the offensive end of the court. Brady Manek was the only other Sooner to score in double figures (12 points), and the bench underwhelmed once again, combining for only 10 points.
  • Long Kruger had Trae Young play off the ball for much of the game. This strategy appeared to yield some decent results compared to the last meeting in Morgantown, when Young had a lot of difficulty receiving the ball on the inbounds plays. That still didn’t stop West Virginia from pressing full court for the majority of the game, but it did allow Oklahoma to give the Mountaineers some different looks at the beginnings of plays.
  • Offensive rebounds played a major part in the loss tonight. West Virginia out-rebounded Oklahoma 15 to nine on the offensive boards, which amounted to 15 more attempts from the field overall. When a team as good as WVU has that many more chances to score, winning is always going to be a challenge.
  • The Sooners finished the game with eight assists as a team. Meanwhile, Trae Young recorded a career-low one of those assists tonight. His previous low for a single game was five assists, which has happened twice (both also coming in losses against Arkansas and West Virginia). While Oklahoma managed to make it a last possession kind of game without Trae Young’s mountain of assists, it speaks of a different problem against an aggressive team like West Virginia. If Oklahoma can’t generate efficient offense when Trae Young isn’t creating plays for others, or when others aren’t helping Trae Young out, the defense is going to have to pick up the slack for an entire game.
  • This happened:

What’s next?

The Oklahoma Sooners travel to Ames this Saturday to take on the Iowa State Cyclones. ISU, which typically has been one of the stronger programs in the Big 12 in recent seasons, has struggled in conference play. The Cyclones are currently tied for last place in the Big 12 with a 3-7 conference record. Oklahoma has struggled on the road since the beginning of 2018, literally. If the Sooners want any chance at making a run towards a Big 12 title, the road issues have to be shored up. Oklahoma has lost 3 of the last 4 meetings against Iowa State, and look out for another rowdy crowd ready to give Trae Young and the bunch all they’ve got.

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