The Oklahoma Sooners entered the day looking for their first victory at Allen Fieldhouse since 1993, and they would come frustratingly close to breaking that drought. However, the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks would prevail by a score of 71-69, dropping OU to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in Big 12 play.
For the most part, the effort was exceptional form this team, and Porter Moser’s game plan was sound. The Sooners would lead for a good chunk of the action — 25:48 to be exact — due in large part to the fact that they were able to take care of the basketball, avoid quick possessions and get decent shots. It was readily apparent that this is a well-coached group, and the moment never felt too big at any point.
OU led 57-52 with just over 10 minutes remaining, but a scoring drought of nearly seven minutes would end up putting them in a hole down the stretch. Trailing 67-59 at the 1:30 mark, Jordan Goldwire took it upon himself to provide the spark, scoring eight points in the closing moments to bring it to within 70-67 with 24 seconds left. OU would then force a steal on the following inbound, which resulted in a Elijah Harkless layup to make things really interesting.
The Sooners then sent Jalen Wilson to the line, where he would hit one of two to make it a two-point game with 14 seconds remaining. While Oklahoma’s final attempt left a bit to be desired, Goldwire’s mid-range look was very makable. Unfortunately, it would come up short, and the Jayhawks would survive.
Goldwire certainly had one of his best games as a Sooners, leading the way offensively with 20 points on 9-16 shooting. Tanner Groves also had a nice performance, adding 19 on 7-14. The team only turned it over nine times, and this hopefully signals the end of major trend of being careless with the basketball. If that is indeed the case, I’m encouraged enough to be confident in their ability to pull together enough wins to make the Big Dance.
Next up for the Sooners is a crucial Tuesday home game against the No. 20 Texas Longhorns, which tips at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2. If they can come out on top and grab another Quad 1 win, they’ll have a bit more margin for error down the stretch. I’m of the opinion that the magic number is 17 total wins for this team, and that’s still very doable.