Oklahoma basketball: Four takeaways from a second-half meltdown at Kansas

Jan 13, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas-- Oklahoma Sooners guard Javian McCollum (2) shoots over Kevin McCullar Jr. of Kansas.
Jan 13, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas-- Oklahoma Sooners guard Javian McCollum (2) shoots over Kevin McCullar Jr. of Kansas. / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No team in the Big 12 -- or even the former Big Eight Conference, for that matter -- has had more trouble playing at KU's Allen Fieldhouse than the men's Oklahoma basketball program.

The Sooners78-66 loss to No, 3-ranked Kansas at the place they call "The Phog" was their 23rd straight in that building. That is a span of time that dates back to 1993 which means OU will leave the Big 12 after this season without ever having won a game at Allen Fieldhouse as a member of the Big 12.

The Phog is an apt sound-alike description for the way Oklahoma played in the second half against Kansas because the Sooners seemed to be fighting their way through a fog after trailing by just a single point, 38-37 at halftime. OU took a 42-40 lead a minute into the second half, but the Jayhawks countered with a 6-0 run and never trailed after that.

As Kansas steadily pulled ahead in the second half, the Kansas fans let the Sooners know they wouldn't be missed in what will probably be their final visit to Allen Fieldhouse, chanting S-E-C.

I can't speak for the entire Sooner Nation, but as a diehard Oklahoma fan and Kansas graduate, it won't bother me never having to play Kansas again, and certainly not having to play them at Allen Fieldhouse. There is at least one more showdown with the Jayhawks to encounter, though. That contest will be in Norman, however, a month from now (Feb. 17). While Kansas owns an 82-16 homecourt advantage in games in Lawrence, the margin is much closer in Norman. The Jayhawks still have a winning record in Norman, but the gap is much closer, 53-45.

After back-to-back road games, OU is home for three of its next four games, starting with a midweek game on Wednesday against West Virginia. The Mountaineers are coming off of 76-73 upset of No. 25 Texas on Saturday.

Four takeaways from an Oklahoma game that got away

  • There are very few teams that come into iconic Allen Fieldhouse and come away with a win, but I doubt there are any teams that have played the Jayhawks consistently for over 100 years that have come away empty-handed at Kansas more often than the Sooners: 81 times out of 97, a winning percentage of .165.
  • Despite getting off to a slow start, Oklahoma shot close to their season average in the first half (48.3 percent), but only 32.3 percent (10 of 31) in the second half. While the Sooners were struggling putting the ball in the basket in the second half, Kansas experienced few scoreless possessions. We had zero 'gaps' (three consecutive defensive stops) in the second half," head coach Porter Moser said in his postgame press conference. "We weren't aggressive enough on defense in the second half," he said, and that, in turn, hurt the Sooner offense.
  • Oklahoma had no answer for Kansas' big three: Hunter Dickinson, Kevin McCullar and KJ Adams. Between them they scored 60 of the Jayhawks' 78 points and collected 29 of the team's 38 rebounds.
  • The Jayhawks blocked seven Oklahoma shots and had five steals and scored 11 points off of 11 Sooner turnovers. The normally aggressive OU defense was able to turn Kansas over just two times in the game. "We didn't guard well enough. We didn't make them have any stress," Moser said after the game.