That. Was. Bedlam. Unfortunately, it won’t be remembered fondly around Norman. On Saturday, the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners were bested by the Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-6, 9-6) in overtime, 94-90. With the loss, OU falls to 14-7 on the season and 9-6 in Big 12 play.
Bedlam Round 1: Oklahoma State— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 27, 2021
Cade Cunningham drops a career-high 40pts in a OT thriller! #GoPokes pic.twitter.com/Xk1X3uFeXu
Despite falling short of the win, senior guard Austin Reaves left his heart on the court for the Sooners. The team leader scored 22 points and added eights assists, six rebounds, a pair of steals and a block. Meanwhile, sophomore guard De’Vion Harmon led OU with 23 points on nine of 13 makes from the field.
What a drive and finish by Austin Reaves. pic.twitter.com/aYSDLdQWZc— OUHoops (@ouhoops) February 27, 2021
Fired up on both ends of the floor. #Sooners with an early lead in Norman.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) February 27, 2021
ABC | https://t.co/9HswvrKPPG pic.twitter.com/Z18L6zGCU5
Even in a loss, senior forward Brady Manek also deserves a special shout-out for coming up with a few key possessions late in the game, both from a rebounding and scoring perspective. The Harrah, Oklahoma native hasn’t had the kind of senior season he was hoping for, but there’s a chance he’s regained some confidence with the way he ended this contest. That could be crucial come tournament time.
There he is!— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) February 27, 2021
ABC | https://t.co/9HswvrKPPG pic.twitter.com/GZ0WdOoZTm
Both teams opened the game looking efficient on offense, including OSU’s star player, Cade Cunningham. On the day, the likely first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft racked up 40 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist. Midway through the first half, the Cowboys built a four-point lead over Oklahoma, but the Sooners quickly answered by outscoring Oklahoma State, 17-4 down the stretch. Impressively, OU shot 50 percent from the field en route to a 38-31 advantage at the break.
All that positive momentum the Sooners created in the first half virtually disappeared in the second. As OSU fell behind by 10, Cunningham and his crew hit Oklahoma with a barrage that seemingly never relented. Eventually, the tide shifted completely, and the Cowboys went up by six. However, the heart on this OU team did not allow the game to get away from it, and thanks to guys like Reaves, Harmon, Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless, the Crimson & Cream was able to tie things up at 75 as regulation concluded.
In OT, the two Sooner state squads continued to trade buckets left and right. For the Cowboys, Cunningham was practically unstoppable down the stretch in spite of the admirable efforts of Harkless, who was able to turn him over on a number of occasions. Meanwhile, Reaves had a response at nearly every turn, but ultimately, OU simply did not have enough left in the tank. After 16 total lead changes, Oklahoma State finally held on to claim an instant classic in this series.
After checking in at No. 7 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, the Sooners are now on a two-game skid with a pair of losses in games that they were originally favored in. This doesn’t destroy any NCAA Tournament hopes, but it does expose some severe trouble areas that quickly need to be addressed. Losing the rebounding battle by 17 is not going to do OU any favors in the future, and allowing the opposition to own the glass on their offensive end cannot continue if the goal is to make it past the first weekend of the Big Dance.
Up next, it’s Bedlam Part II as Oklahoma squares off against Oklahoma State on Monday, Mar. 1. The Sooners have lost three of the last four meetings with the Cowboys in Stillwater. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!