The Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team is officially in the danger zone for missing March Madness this year, falling at Iowa State 75-54. The Sooners are now barely above .500 at 14-13 on the season, and a miserable 4-10 in Big 12 play, losing six of their last seven contests.
OU started off red hot shooting 3-3 from the field and leading 10-5, but it was basically all Cyclones after that. ISU outscored the Sooners 35-15 the rest for the first half to take a 40-25 lead into the break. To really illustrate the Sooners struggles, OU made as many baskets in the first half as they had turnovers, nine.
No doubt Friday’s announcement that one of the Sooners’ leaders, Elijah Harkless, would be out the rest of the season impacted the team, but other guys have to step up and that just didn’t happen, especially on the defensive end.
The Sooners got the game to single digits after the under eight timeout, but then the Cyclones went on a 15-0 run to put the game away. Nine Cyclones scored, including three in double-figures, lead by Izaiah Brockington with 22 points.
Now there were some offensive highlights, including 10-5 starts in both halfs, cutting the lead down to five with about 13 minutes to go in the game, 49-44. However, It wasn’t sustained at a high enough level for Oklahoma to win. Just six Sooners scored in total, three in double figures; Jordan Goldwire and Jalen Hill did their best, both putting up 15 points, while Jacob Groves added in 11. The Sooners struggled, like they have a lot during conference play, with Tanner Groves racking up only seven points, while Umoja Gibson netted just four points, 0-4 from beyond the arc.
Once again, the bench was almost non-existent, especially without Harkless providing that spark. The OU bench totaled just two points on five shots, compare that to Iowa State’s bench that scored 15 points on nine shots.
Overall, the team had to just quickly after Harkless was officially out, but the margin of error is gone. We are talking about the same issues we have for months; the Sooners were out rebounded 21-20, out-assisted 19-12 and turned the ball over 16 times to the Cyclones’ 11. OU probably needs three of these last four games to force a tournament berth, but if they don’t get contributions from the bench and start to flip the rebounds and assists in their favor, the season will be officially over in the next couple weeks.
Oklahoma looks to stop the bleeding and stay above .500 on Tuesday when they travel to Lubbock, Texas and face off with the No. 11 Texas Tech Red Raiders (21-6 overall, 10-4 Big 12) on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.