The Oklahoma Sooners dropped their fourth straight Big 12 game and five in the last six, 65-51, to No. 5 Baylor Saturday afternoon in the Lloyd Noble Center.
The problems were obvious and often, just as they have been so far in conference play. The Sooners turned the ball over 25 times, the most in a game this season, with Baylor stealing the ball 16 times alone. In fact, OU has racked up 17 or more turnovers in three of the last four games.
Oklahoma also started out each half digging itself into massive holes. In the first 4:48 of the game the Sooners turned the ball over on eight of their first 10 possessions as the Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
The Sooners did show the fight fans want to see, but just like against Kansas, they couldn’t hold the lead. After the early 10 point deficit, OU put together a 19-5 run to lead by four, 19-15, but the defense let up. The Bears ended the half on an 8-0 run, while also scoring the first eight points of the 2nd half, totaling 16 straight Bears points to put Baylor up, 33-21.
Tanner Groves was held scoreless in the first half, but was a major catalyst after the break, putting up 11 points and helping the Sooners go on a 12-1 run to get within five, 47-42, but the momentum was short lived. After a knee to the face, Groves received a technical for arguing after the Sooners had to foul, and the Bears hit four free throws to push the lead back out to seven.
The Sooners kept pushing, but it was too little too late after the lead ballooned back up to 14 at the under four timeout.
For the Sooners to turn the tides in the best college basketball conference in America, they have to cut down on the turnovers. Bad passes, traveling and bad shots all contributing to the season high giveaways. OU also needs to limit the massive runs they allow opponents’ offenses to put together, so the deficits are more manageable. Finally, Oklahoma has to get Tanner Groves in a groove early in the contest. 11 points in the 2nd half is great, but not after getting shutout in the first half, and not even attempting a shot.
Oklahoma is back on the road this Wednesday at the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-5, 2-4). Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN 2.