The Sooners suffer what is another frustrating close loss in Big 12 play. The Sooners lost 63-60 in a very crazy game. Iowa State looked like they were going to run away with this game as they led 25-7 with 11:36 left in the first half. Oklahoma came storming back into this game on a 20-0 run and held Iowa State scoreless for 9:18 to ultimately tie the game 29-29 at halftime. Porter Moser spoke about the first half saying, “The first half was a tale of two stories, It was once a group that defended as poor as a team that I’ve seen defend, and then we made some subs and we had some energy and then we flipped it and went on a 20-0.”
With 1:03 left in the game, Milos Uzan tied the game with a layup. Iowa State responded with a layup of its own. Bijan Cortes made a tough layup to tie the game back up with 45 seconds on the clock. Moser spoke about the layup Iowa State got to tie the game saying, “We missed a ball screen coverage with 50 seconds left and Lipsey got to the rim supposed to be a switch our guard didn’t switch and Lipsey got downhill, look at it.” Iowa State’s Caleb Grill then nailed a clutch 3 to give them a 3-point lead with 30 seconds left. The Sooners had a chance down one to win the game but unfortunately, it was a turnover.
Moser talked about the Sooners play to win the game saying, “They put there 6-10 kid with 7-4 wingspan on the ball, obviously we were coming bringing Grant off or then they took the switch and we were dumping it into Jalen so we were trying to get it into Grant or Jalen very hard for Bijan to see I told Bijan “B that’s not your fault” we had no timeouts very hard to see you know they were switching everything and we were trying to come down and get Grant up top and then we had 7.5 I think it was or with Jalen and the pass hang up a little bit in the air because he had to get over his head Jalen usually comes up with those.”
In Grant Sherfield’s past 5 games he scored 24, 23, 17, 22, and 22. Tonight he had 4. Your star player only scoring 4 points will make it extremely difficult to win games, especially in the Big 12. I’d say that Sherfield only scoring 4 points was the biggest factor as to why Oklahoma came up short in this one. Sherfield sat for a good amount of the first half and was on the bench during the Sooners 20-0 run. In the second half, it just seemed he was forcing it a bit. Have to give the Cyclones credit as they did an excellent job taking Grant Sherfield out of this game.
“You got to make them pay you know if it’s effective if you’re getting bottled up they are going to keep doing it so you got to be effective get it out spray it one more man we can’t he’s just throwing darts out of that trap that’s what we got to do this is the best defensive leagues in the country and he’s one of the best offensive players in the country,” said Porter Moser when asked about the tough defense that was played on Grant Sherfield.
Jalen Hill was arguably the Sooners best player tonight with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assist, and 4 steals in 36 minutes. Hill was also 2-2 from behind the arc tonight. The Sooners will need Hill to keep up his great play throughout the course of the season. “I thought Jalen Hill was an absolute warrior,” said Moser. After the Texas loss, Porter Moser said that the Sooners needed Uzan and Cortes to be more aggressive and they both did that tonight. Bijan Cortes had his best game of the season with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Cortes was 2-4 from 3-point range tonight. Milos Uzan for the most part played well aside from the 4 turnovers However, when you play a true freshman 32 minutes turnovers are bound to happen.
CJ Noland really stepped up and scored 6 points on 2-4 shooting from 3. Noland getting going is huge for the Sooners as he played some good minutes tonight. “I told CJ before the game I go be ready you had your best two practices of the year these last two days, I thought CJ gave us a great lift,” said Porter Moser. It is very frustrating losing two close games at home Moser talked about it saying, “Gotta find that inch you’re a possession away two straight games and didn’t get it done.” While it does hurt the Sooners by no means is this season over. 8 conference wins would likely put you into the tournament so Oklahoma will need to pick up a few huge road wins. The Sooners are now 0-2 in conference play and will look to bounce back against Texas Tech in Lubbock at 6 pm on Saturday, January 7th.
Photo credits to Soonersports.com