Lon Kruger and his team have been in many close games this year and have been able to pull out a victory more often than not, but the Oklahoma Sooners wilted down the stretch when they needed big plays from their most important players. Wichita State consistently took the ball into the paint and out-muscled the Sooners en route to a 80-75 victory. OU fell to 7-2 overall for the 2019-20 season.
It was Austin Reaves’ first return to Wichita State since transferring, and it appeared to have an impact on the redshirt junior as he didn’t get going until it was too late. The Sooner guard was 5-13 from the field, shooting just 2-8 from three while finishing with 13 points. He scored nine of his 13 points in the second half, with six of them coming in the last 45 seconds.
The game boiled down to a couple of major statistics — free throws and rebounds. The Shockers took six more free throws than the Sooners at 20 while converting them at a higher clip at 90 percent in comparison to Oklahoma’s 78 percent. The other statistic that reflected the Sooners’ supposed weakness this year is a lack of muscle inside the paint, as Wichita State out-rebounded Oklahoma 48-31 and ran at the rim at will down the stretch to flip the script on a once 8-point lead for Sooners.
Additionally, the Sooners were 11-36 on two-point attempts, which was largely the result of OU having very little success around the rim.
On the night, Kristian Doolittle led the Sooners with 22 points on 8-22 shooting, followed by Brady Manek’s 14 points on 5-7 shooting and De’Vion Harmon’s 14 points on 5-9 from the floor. Harmon came up big for Oklahoma several times and flashed the ability to hit an outside shot should defenses disrespect him as only a slasher.
De'Vion Harmon is on .— OUHoops (@ouhoops) December 15, 2019
He has four 3⃣'s in the first seven minutes of the second half. pic.twitter.com/NiN1pupzhb
Up next, Oklahoma travels to Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to take on the Creighton Bluejays, who are 8-2 on the season. Last season, the Sooners defeated Creighton 83-70 inside the LLoyd Noble Center. This year’s game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT.
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