On Thanksgiving Day, the No. 4 seeded Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 5 seeded Arkansas Razorbacks squared off in the Victory Bracket of the PK80. Expecting a fast paced, high scoring affair, such was the case for the first twent minutes of play. However, the pace of the game slowed quite a bit in the second half.
Unfortunately, the change seemed to favor the Razorbacks who maintained a slim margin of victory throughout the final twenty minutes. Knocking down 50% of their attempts from the three point line makes any team difficult to beat. Leading the charge, Daryl Macon collected 27 points. The effort left the senior three points shy of his career high mark. Yet, Arkansas also won the rebounding battle.
Needless to say, the ball seemed to bounce the Razorbacks way when it mattered most.
Despite the 92-83 loss, OU shot 46.9% from the floor. Once again, it was the true freshman, Trae Young leading the way. Finishing with a career high 28 points, Young has eclipsed the 20-point mark for the second consecutive outing. Living up to the five-star rating, there’s still plenty of room to grow for this budding star.
Moving forward, the Sooners must figure out a way to force teams off the three point line. Funneling a shooter toward the middle of the lane puts an opponent in direct line with Khadeem Lattin. One of the better shot blockers in the conference, that presents a favorable situation. But, a bloaked shot or rebound from the same situation springs Oklahoma into transition.
It’s an area of basketball that Lon Kruger’s programs have thrived in. With players like Young and Jordan Shepherd handling the ball, the Sooners have the ability to push the pace of the game. Again, it’s early in the season and OU is playing away from home for the first time. Oklahoma will have an opportunity to learn from the loss as they face Portland on Friday.