After trailing by 17 points, the Oklahoma Sooners roared back in Ames, Iowa to challenge the Iowa State Cyclones. Eventually pulling even at 71-71 with 4:55 remaining in regulation on a Trae Young lay-up, it appeared as though the program with the last possession would win the contest. However, consecutive three pointers from Donovan Jackson and Lindell Wigginton all but put the contest out of reach for Oklahoma. Falling 88-80, the Sooners have now lost six consecutive road contests.
Noting the biggest struggle in the first half, Lon Kruger said, “We didn’t open the game like we wanted to. I thought Iowa State was sharp. We’ve got to do a better job (on defense). We’ve got to commit more to it.” That was clearly the focus of the second half as Oklahoma held Iowa State without a field goal for over seven minutes. Moving forward, the defensive effort continues to be a point of contention. It’s the one aspect lacking if the Sooners hope to earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Despite a double-double from Young, the freshman appeared to have off game. Deep shots simply weren’t falling for any shooter on the roster. On the afternoon, OU shot an uncharacteristic 22.2% from beyond the arc. Where the Sooners excelled was at the charity stripe. Knocking down 20-of-22 attempts kept the road team within striking distance late in the second half.
Christian James collected a career high 22 points in the loss alongside nine rebounds. The effort marks the junior as the top performer for the Sooners. He’ll look to continue to the trend moving forward as OU faces Texas Tech on the road.