This one was agonizing. A missed opportunity in more ways than one.
Down three with 6.1 seconds remaining, the Oklahoma Sooners had possession, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders smartly decided to foul. De’Vion Harmon went to the line knowing he had to miss the back end. The first free throw was perfect, and so was the miss on the second one. In flew Victor Iwuakor, who snagged the rebound and drew the foul on the way back up.
Unfortunately, Iwuakor isn’t the most proficient free-throw shooter, and after missing the first, he had to miss the second. The miss was, again, perfect. With the ball tipped back to him, Austin Reaves had the perfect opportunity for a put-back to tie it up.
Too strong. No. 15 Texas Tech 69, Oklahoma 67.
This result is especially frustrating, as the Sooners really needed to take advantage of this opportunity before facing three top-10 teams (No. 7 West Virginia, at No. 2 Baylor, at No. 3 Kansas) in consecutive games. In hindsight, we’ll look back on the late miss as well as missed free throws across the board and a rough performance from Brady Manek.
Speaking of Manek, he finished with two points on 1/7 shooting, and his team was -10 when he was on the floor. Not exactly what one should expect from an experienced player in such an important game, but in his defense, he did show some toughness down the stretch against TCU, so you just sort of have to hope for him to get back into that headspace. Unfortunately, Reaves didn't play much better, going 4/14 from the field. but at least he showed a bit of his trademark fire down the stretch.
The bright spot of the evening was De’Vion Harmon, who scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and picked up the slack while other teammates struggled. Umoja Gibson also provided a nice contribution off the bench, going 4/8 (3/6 from three) for 11 points.
Athletic sophomores Victor Iwuakor and Jalen Hill didn’t jump off the stat sheet, but their effort on both ends of the floor did a lot to keep OU in this one. Even with Iwuakor going 4-10 from the line, you have to love the potential of these two.
The Sooners get a bit of a a reprieve before getting back to action, with the West Virginia Mountaineers coming to Norman for a Jan. 2 tilt. The action will begin at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.