On Wednesday night, the No. 25 Oklahoma Sooners (15-9) effectively ended the Iowa State Cyclones’ (2-22) 2020-21 season with a 79-73 victory. With the win, OU put an end to its four-game losing streak and has advanced in the Big 12 Tournament for the first time since 2016.
Senior guard Austin Reaves — a recent All-Big 12 First Team selection — had himself another solid night. Against ISU, he recorded 21 points on 6/11 shooting from the field (7/8 FT) while adding five boards, three assists and one steal. Meanwhile, sophomore point guard De’Vion Harmon contributed 18 points (8/12 FG, 1/2 FT) in addition to his four rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Big shot by Austin Reaves to push the lead back to 9. pic.twitter.com/7z0gWTaVcO— OUHoops (@ouhoops) March 11, 2021
Once again, junior guard Elijah Harkless proved to be an invaluable player on both ends of the floor, stuffing the stat sheet with 12 points, nine rebounds, six assists, five steals and unrelenting defense. Going forward, he’ll play a key role in how far the Sooners advance in Kansas City as well as the Big Dance.
Elijah Harkless gets OU off to a good start. pic.twitter.com/6PnCZdUeJg— OUHoops (@ouhoops) March 11, 2021
In the first half, Lon Kruger’s crew looked strong on the defensive end of the court, limiting the Cyclones to just 33 percent from the field while shooting nearly 50 percent themselves. Perhaps more importantly, the Sooners won the edge in both rebounding and points-in-the-paint. Seniors Austin Reaves and Brady Manek did most of the scoring for Oklahoma, and through the opening 20 minutes, helped establish a 36-28 halftime lead.
In the second half, Oklahoma’s defense dialed up the heat on Iowa State and turned that pressure into points in transition. Eventually, the Sooners led by as many as 19 before ISU finally responded with a barrage of threes down the stretch. Ultimately, OU’s depth and superior talent held off the Cyclones’ would-be miraculous comeback to remain alive in the chase for a conference crown.
Tomorrow, Oklahoma will take on second-seeded Kansas in Day Two of the Big 12 Tournament. OU split its two meetings with the Jayhawks during the regular season, including a 75-68 win over KU in Norman. Tip-off is scheduled for Thursday, Mar. 11 at 5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN or ESPN2.
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