On Senior Night, the Oklahoma Sooners saw victory snatched from their grasp on a game-winning Texas Longhorns (19-11, 9-8) prayer, falling 52-51. With the loss, OU splits the 2020 Red River series, dropping to 18-12 on the season and 8-9 in Big 12 play.
Tonight’s showdown versus UT marked senior forward Kristian Doolittle’s final game in front of the Oklahoma faithful inside the Lloyd Noble Center. For his home court curtain call, the Edmond native tallied a game-high 20 points on 6-14 shooting and added 10 rebounds, one assist, a block and a steal.
Unfortunately, Doolittle had a chance to knock down two free throws in the final six seconds that would have effectively salted the game away, but he ended up missing both, leaving the door open for one of the top finishes of the college basketball season. To make matters worse, OU fans broke out in ‘Texas sucks’ chants right before the final sequence of those missed free throws and that game-winner, adding a humiliating aftertaste to an already unpalatable performance.
TEXAS WINS AGAIN, 52-51. I don't know what's better, Matt Coleman III's clutch 3, or Andrew Jones' amazing reaction. pic.twitter.com/QvGvyUSCqq— Jeff Jones (@JeffJonesSports) March 4, 2020
The Sooners opened up the night with another slow start on the offensive end of the court, but were able to stay within striking distance of the Longhorns thanks to an early advantage in free throws and turnovers. Both squads traded the lead multiple times with Oklahoma going up by as many as five before Texas closed the half on a 13-4 run. At the break, OU trailed, 30-26.
In the second half, the stifling defense from both sides continued as Texas built a short-lived six point lead. The power trio of Doolittle, Brady Manek and Austin Reaves helped close the gap, chipping away little by little in this all-out slugfest. As Oklahoma flipped the script with under a minute left, Manek recorded a block that appeared to put the Sooners in the driver’s seat the rest of the way. Of course, the foul stripe was extremely unkind to the home team in crunch time, and the rest is history.
Coming into Tuesday, Oklahoma was ranked No. 41 in the NCAA NET rating system, while its Red River opponent held the No. 59 spot. As far as OU’s Bracketology standing goes coming into the night, the Sooners were projected as a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament according CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and a 10-seed according ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. This rather unfortunate result isn’t a death sentence as far as Oklahoma’s postseason hopes go, but it’s yet another tough pill to swallow that will make Selection Sunday all the more interesting.
Up next, Oklahoma wraps up its regular season schedule on the road at TCU on Saturday, Mar. 7. Back in January, the Sooners hosted the Horned Frogs in the LNC, winning that contest in style, 83-63. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
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