Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from a super Sooner turnaround at Iowa State
I’m not sure anyone saw this coming. Certainly not Oklahoma basketball fans who have far too often this season seen what happens to the Sooners when they get punched hard in the mouth.
You never really know what to expect with the OU men this season. Who would have thought that a team that lost by 11 at home earlier in the week to an unranked team with a losing Big 12 record would go on the road four days later and win by the same margin over a ranked team with a winning conference record.
The Sooner shooting was lethargic to start the game but found the range in the latter half of the opening quarter to close within five points at halftime. The second half was all Oklahoma. The Sooners stepped it up offensively over the second 20 minutes, shooting well over 50 percent to pull away from the 23rd-ranked Cyclones.
It wasn’t so much that the Sooners ran the Cyclones out of their own gym offensively in the second half. Because OU was shooting well, the Sooners were able to gradually extend their advantage in the second half, which eventually grew to as much as 15 points late in the game.
Iowa State lost this game, however, because of its inability to buy a basket for much of the second stanza. The Sooner defense had something to do with that, of course, but when you make just seven field goals in a half you aren’t going to win games in a conference as strong as the Big 12.
As big as this win was for the Sooners, it did not elevate them out of the basement in the Big 12 standings. Unless they are able to win both of their remaining regular-season games — at K-State on Wednesday and at home Saturday against TCU in the season finale — the Sooners are destined to finish right where they are and receive the No. 10 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
Four key takeaways from the Oklahoma win over Iowa State
- Oklahoma started the game missing its first five shots and committing four turnovers. The Sooners first points — a three-pointer by Milos Uzan — came five and a half minutes into the game.
- The Sooners have three double-digit wins over ranked opponents this season.
- Jacob Groves led the Sooners in scoring with 16 points off the bench, including four of five clutch three-pointers. It was the younger Groves brother’s third best scoring performance of the season. He scored a season-high 26 points in a win over Central Arkansas in December and had another 16-point game against Nebraska early in the season.
- Oklahoma showed signs early in the Iowa State game that the Sooners really missed point guard Bijan Cortes, who earlier in the week announced that he was stepping away from basketball for a while for personal reasons. Cortes is OU’s primary ball handler when he was in the game. On Saturday, those duties fell solely on the freshman Uzan. The Sooners committed 10 turnovers in the first half, and at least four of those were bad passes that went out of bounds. OU ended up with 18 turnovers for the game, but on this Saturday it was able to overcome the turnovers, which resulted in 14 Iowa State points.
- It was Oklahoma’s second Big 12 road win against six losses. Unfortunately, the Sooners have the exact same record at home.