Bramlage Coliseum has been a difficult place to play for the Oklahoma Sooners under the direction of Lon Kruger. On Tuesday, the program hoped to change the narrative by securing their first win over the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan since 2012. Unable to overcome a season high 20 turnovers, OU found themselves trailing before eventually falling 87-69.
Credit Bruce Weber and the K-State defense for making life difficult for Trae Young. The catalyst of the Oklahoma offense, Young was forced to become one-dimensional thanks to Barry Brown. Unable to create for his teammates, the true freshman turned to volume shooting in order to affect the game. Connecting on 8-of-21 attempts from the field, Young scored a game team high 20 points.
While many will focus on the play of Young, it’s a team effort each and every night.
Shooting 7-of-25 from behind the arc, the Sooners never established an offensive rhythm. That quickly became apparent as the nation’s top scoring offense was help to a season low of 69 points. However, it doesn’t paint the entire picture.
Defensively, Oklahoma played deep into the shot clock. Usually, this scenario pressures the opposition into a contested shot or a turnover. On Tuesday, it was a completely different story as the defense crumbled allowed a shot at the rim. Time and time again, Cartier Diarra slashed toward the bucket untouched for an easy layup.
As a team, questions abound and are now being magnified by a loss. Can the Sooners continue to outscore their opponents to secure victory? With the eighth most difficult remaining schedule in D-I Basketball, how will the two key freshman handle losses? Lastly, are there other players who can create for their teammates? Or has everyone fallen into the notion that it’s Young’s responsibility to carry?
At this point, there’s no denying Oklahoma a spot in the NCAA Tournament. But, the defensive effort must improve as the level of competition continues to rise.