On Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners battled all the way back from a 20-point deficit to wrap up the regular season on the highest of notes with a 78-76 win over the TCU Horned Frogs (16-15, 7-11). Now entering the postseason, OU boasts a 19-12 overall record, including a respectable 9-9 showing throughout Big 12 play.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) March 8, 2020
Oklahoma comes back from 19 down to beat TCU and claim 3️⃣rd place in the Big 12!
Reaves leads the way with 4️⃣1️⃣. pic.twitter.com/EeHSm2pMIg
The hero of the game is undoubtedly junior forward Austin Reaves, who turned in a career-high scoring performance of 41 points on 12-23 shooting from the field and 15-16 from the line. The Wichita State transfer also added six assists, five rebounds and three blocks while being a constant thorn in TCU’s side. Then when his team needed him most, he sunk the final dagger to stun the Horned Frogs on their home floor.
TCU opened the game on fire from deep, and its offense stayed hot for the entire first half. Meanwhile everybody wearing an Oklahoma jersey not named Austin Reaves was struggling mightily just to look competent with the ball in their hands. Simply put, it was about as ugly as it gets on both ends of the floor for OU as the Horned Frogs looked determined to play spoiler and send their own seniors out with a victory. The Sooners trailed at the halftime break, 44-26.
The second half began with a more promising start than the first, but every time Oklahoma cut into its large deficit, TCU went on a run to re-energize the crowd and put the game further out of reach. Then Reaves went nuclear, and his teammates finally followed suit. Senior forward Kristian Doolittle found his stroke, pouring in 15 points, and junior forward Brady Manek thawed out from his ice cold slumber to drain two threes in the latter stages of the game.
The Sooners were eventually able to tie things up with the Horned Frogs, and with an opportunity for the last shot, it was Reaves who came up huge in the clutch.
Coming into the weekend, OU held the No. 45 position in the NCAA NET rankings. Further, both ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm projected the Sooners as a 10-seed for the NCAA Tournament in their respective updated Bracketology reports, so today’s win over TCU should only help insure Oklahoma’s odds in regards to qualifying for the Big Dance.
Up next, Oklahoma is headed to Kansas City, Missouri for the 2020 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. As the No. 3-seed, the Sooners will open their conference tournament run against 6-seed West Virginia (21-10, 9-9). During the regular season, OU swept the Mountaineers between their meetings in Norman and Morgantown, with both victories resulting in double-digit final margins. This quarterfinal matchup is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 with an 8 p.m. CT tip-off on ESPN/2.
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