Inside Allen Fieldhouse, the Oklahoma Sooners were narrowly bested by the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks (10-2, 4-1), 63-59. With the loss, OU falls to 6-4 on the season, 2-3 in Big 12 play.
Fought like hell for 40 minutes. #Sooners come up short to No. 6 Kansas. pic.twitter.com/rHFuaeGG7l— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 9, 2021
Senior guard Austin Reaves led all scorers with 20 points on 7-13 shooting and 4-4 from the charity stripe. He also led his team with nine rebounds while also adding three assists and a steal. As a slight bonus, sophomore forward Victor Iwuakor stepped up off the bench in the absence of senior forward Brady Manek and sophomore forward Jalen Hill (COVID-19 contact tracing protocol) by contributing five points and a respectable seven boards.
⚡️ @OU_MBBall forces the turnover and takes the lead just before the half against No. 6 Kansas pic.twitter.com/M2CSLztaTh— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) January 9, 2021
The hoop and and the harm!— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) January 9, 2021
Victor Iwuakor coming up clutch for @OU_MBBall. pic.twitter.com/eyXeFubuQL
Considering Lon Kruger was without the services of Manek and Hill on Saturday, the Sooners actually started the day relatively well, jumping out to as much as a seven-point lead within the game’s first five minutes. However, that surprising advantage was short-lived, as Bill Self’s talented Jayhawks quickly found a groove that would eventually put them on the high side. Usually, that’s the point where KU imposes its will and never looks back, but OU stuck to its plan and kept on playing. A late run to end the half allowed Oklahoma to regain the lead at the break, 33-31.
Turnovers were a major factor that helped Oklahoma stay in the game until the final minute. KU lost a total of 16 possessions thanks to the Sooners’ stifling defense. As the Jayhawks began to pull away in the second half, OU turned up the heat and battled back to re-take the lead on multiple occasions. The back-and-forth frenzy down the stretch would ultimately favor the home team, but even with this contest resulting in yet another loss for Kruger’s squad, it’s a performance that they can build on going forward. Having said that, earning the first win in Lawrence since 1993 would’ve been awfully nice.
Up next, Oklahoma returns home to welcome TCU (9-4, 2-3) to the Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The Sooners have won their last seven meetings with the Horned Frogs dating back to the 2017-18 season, including an 82-78 win in Fort Worth last month. Tip-off for this one is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and will stream exclusively on ESPN+.
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