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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: Oklahoma’s season ends in OT at hands of Rhode Island

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Oklahoma gave is some hope, but Trae Young couldn’t do it on his own.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Oklahoma Sooners vs Rhode Island Rams Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was a back-and-forth battle from the jump to the final buzzer, and in an overtime thriller in Pittsburgh, the No. 10-seeded Oklahoma Sooners were unable to overcome a barrage of three-pointers from the Rhode Island Rams, falling 83-78. As has been a central theme for the season, the Sooners were unable to generate enough defensive stops to keep up. As a result, the losses have come in bunches. With the potential this team had in the middle of the season, it’s a shame they won’t be dancing past the first round.

Three takeaways:

  • Perhaps the lone bright spot of the game - aside from Young - was Jamuni McNeace, who showed why he’s been getting a major increase in playing time as the season has worn on. McNeace was a beast in the paint all day, and on both ends of the court, the Rams didn’t have an answer for the his length and shot-altering ability. Unfortunately, whenever McNeace wasn’t on the floor, it seemed like the rest of the Sooners forgot how to rebound. Quite frankly, I’m not sure they ever practice boxing out. In a valiant yet futile effort, McNeace recorded his first double-double of the season, and his second ever in his career, with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
  • The Sooners were absolutely abysmal from beyond the arc, shooting 4-20 from three-point territory. Trae Young accounted for three of the four makes, which is about as sad as it gets. On the flipside, the Rhode Island was nearly lights out from deep, going 11-28 from three-point land. Three different Rams players made three three-pointers, and the Sooners couldn’t respond time and time again. Yes, the Rams players were making some insane shots, but there were plenty of open looks that the Sooners simply failed to make an effort on and close out. I really have no explanation for why.
  • Rhode Island won the turnover battle by a wide margin, as Oklahoma turned the ball over 14 times compared to the Rams’ six. That difference of eight turnovers translated to eight more attempts from the field, which simply cannot happen if you’re trying to win a basketball game in the NCAA Tournament. I don’t know if it was just a lack of attention to detail, or just being flat out careless, but the Sooners didn’t value the ball near as much as they needed to, and it cost them big time.

What’s next?

That’s a wrap. The Oklahoma Sooners’ 2017-18 season has come to an end after they failed to full recover from one of the most perplexing seasons in recent college basketball history. Trae Young probably won’t win the Wooden Award, and everybody in Soonerland is more than ready for the return of football season (but don’t forget about softball, golf and gymnastics!). Maybe next season basketball will be fun again. Maybe, but I’m not betting on it.

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