Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from nail-biting loss to No. 7 Kansas

Oklahoma's Elijah Harkless (55) and Tanner Groves (35) walk off the court as Kansas' Jalen Wilson (10) celebrates following a 67-64 win Tuesday night in Norman.cover main
Oklahoma's Elijah Harkless (55) and Tanner Groves (35) walk off the court as Kansas' Jalen Wilson (10) celebrates following a 67-64 win Tuesday night in Norman.cover main /

Oklahoma basketball lost a game at home to Kansas on Tuesday that the Sooners easily could have won.

Instead, the Sooners find themselves in a deep hole, dropping a third straight Big 12 conference game, and the road ahead isn’t getting any easier.

Oklahoma (12-6, 2-4 Big 12) lost a 67-64 nail-biter to the No. 5-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. After a crushing one-point loss to TCU, the Sooners fought with a more-talented Kansas squad for a full 40 minutes but came up inches and seconds short.

In recent years the Sooners have had good success against the Jayhawks at home, winning two of the last three, but Kansas was able to prevail in Norman this season.

Oklahoma missed its first four shots coming out after halftime, and Kansas took advantage, opening up a 12-point lead after leading by two at the break. Trailing 44-32 barely over two minutes into the second half, the Sooners went on a 20-2 run over the next eight minutes that gave them a 52-46 with 9:13 remaining.

The game remained close to the end with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s Kansas-Oklahoma game:

Three-point shooting continues to struggle for OU

The Sooners were coming off a disappointing shooting performance at TCU, and it continued behind the arc against Kansas. Oklahoma went 4 for17 (23 percent) from the three-point range, Umaji Gibson and C.J. Noland each cashed in two treys for the Sooners.

Kansas was able to edge the Sooners in the three-point department, going 8 of17 (47 percent) from three.

Head Coach Porter Moser had this to say after the game:

“The guys, man they fought, I mean they’re exhausted coming back from Fort Worth, and they gave that kind of effort to put themselves in a position to win,” Moser said.

With ten seconds left, Kansas guard Christian Braun knocked down a contested three over Elijah Harkless to give the Jayhawks a 67-64 lead, which ended up being the deciding factor.

Jordan Goldwire was able to knock down a pair of free throws with under ten seconds left, but it wasn’t enough. Despite the slight shooting struggles, the Sooners were able to go toe-to-toe with top-10-ranked Kansas.


Ochai Agbaji came up with big buckets down the stretch

The Jayhawks’ Ochai Agbaji, the Big 12 scoring leader, went down with a hand injury early in the first half, which limited his playing time. He did re-enter the game, however, and became a major factor in KU’s ability to come from behind in the closing minutes.

With Oklahoma holding a 56-52 edge over the Jayhawks, Agbaji knocked down two-straight three-balls to tie the game at 58-58. The Sooners were able to hold Agbaji to just 10 points, 10 under his season average (20.6 PPG), but the senior guard was able to hit a pair of critical shots at the end to help Kansas avoid the upset.

Agbaji was one of three Jayhawks who finished in double-figures.  Jalen Wilson led the Jayhawks with 16 points, and Christian Braun added 15, none more important than the three-point shot that gave Kansas the lead for good.

Sooners continue a difficult Big 12 stretch

The road doesn’t get any easier for Oklahoma, as the Sooners host No. 5 Baylor in Norman Saturday afternoon. It will be the fifth top-25 team in six games for the Sooners. Such is life this season in the rough and tough Big 12.

After the meeting Saturday with Baylor, Oklahoma travels to Morgantown to take on West Virginia, followed by an SEC date with No. 2 Auburn. The Big 12 is undeniably the toughest conference in college basketball.

The Sooners have shown this season that they are able to play with the best teams in the country. They are going to continue to get that opportunity and, hopefully, they can turn some of those close finishes into Sooner victories going forward. They do have three wins over top-15 teams already this season.