Disappointing. That’s the only word that adequately sums up Oklahoma’s night at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The Sooners were a shoe-in for the NCAA Tournament had they beaten 10th seeded West Virginia and now they could very well be a play-in team…or not even in the field at all.
It wasn’t just that Oklahoma lost in the opening round of the tournament, yet again, the disappointment came in how they lost. After trailing for most of the first half, Christian James hit a three-pointer from the corner to give the Sooners a 35-33 advantage at the break.
That lead eventually evaporated as the Mountaineers went in front on a Jordan McCabe three-pointer, putting the Sooners with an uphill climb for the final eleven minutes and change.
Oklahoma didn’t go away though and with just one second left on the clock it appeared that Christian James had struck again with a three-point shot that would have tied the game at 72-72. However, after review, James had a foot on the line making it just a two-point shot, making OU a point shy of overtime at 72-71.
This was absolutely a game that the Sooners needed to win. Not just for NCAA posturing but for confidence and momentum. The chances are still good that they’ll be dancing come next week but there’s a big difference between limping into the NCAA Tournament and going in on a high note.
Brady Manek posted a game-high 22 points in the losing effort. He was one of three Oklahoma players to score in double figures. Kristian Doolittle contributed 18 points and Christian James scored 11.
If you’re looking for something positive to take away from OU’s trip to the Big 12 Tournament, it’s that they’ll be well rested for their first game of either the NCAA or NIT tournament. Other than that it was a pretty disappointing night in Kansas City.