Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from a blockbuster Bedlam finale

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Javian McCollum put a dramatic explanation point on the Bedlam hoops series and the final Oklahoma basketball visit to Gallagher-Iba arena on Saturday.

With the Sooners trailing 82-81 in overtime, McCollum launched what appeared to be a desperation three-point attempt from the left corner as time was about to expire. The horn sounded as the ball arched perfectly through the basket cylinder, touching nothing but net and sending a dagger to the heart of a young Oklahoma State team that fought heroically and led most of the game.

In those brief closing seconds, Oklahoma managed to seize victory from the jaws of defeat and pull out an 84-82 victory in a game that clearly lived up to its Bedlam designation.

A three-point shot by Rivaldo Soares in the final minute of the first half trimmed an 11-point Oklahoma State lead to eight, 38-30, at halftime. Oklahoma came out in the second half and scored the first six points to cut the Cowboys' lead to 38-36. OSU managed to hold off the Sooners' charge for the next 14 minutes, with the margin never exceeding six points.

A three-pointer by McCollum, his first of the game, brought the Sooners within one at 66-65 with 4:08 to go in regulation. Fifty seconds later, a rebound and put-back of a missed free throw gave Oklahoma its first lead since the 11:54 mark of the first half. The lead changed hands a couple of times over the final three minutes.

With the score tied at 72, Oklahoma State's Javon Small, an 86 percent foul shooter, was fouled with four seconds to go and went to the free-throw line with a one-and-one opportunity. One or two free throws probably would have ended the game. He missed the free throw, however, sending the game to overtime.

Oklahoma State took its first lead in the overtime session, 82-81, on a three-pointer by John-Michael Wright with 1:28 left in OT. That's the way things remained until McCollum's game-winning shot.

With the win, Oklahoma improved to 19-8 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12. It also ended a two-game Sooner losing streak and marked the third time this season the Sooners have responded to back-to-back losses with a victory. Oklahoma State, hoping to pick up a third straight victory after, falls to 12-15 overall and 4-10 in conference play.

The Sooners are back on the road at midweek, traveling to Ames, Iowa, to play No. 6 Iowa State on Wednesday before returning to the Lloyd Noble Center to host Houston, which is likely be the No. 1 team in the country by next Saturday. The Cougars are coached by former Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson.

Five takeaways from an OU Bedlam basketball closeout

  • The Sooners were down early and for the longest while it appeared that Oklahoma State was going to have the last word in a rivalry that was in its 115th and what could be its final year. But OU never gave up the fight despite playing on the road and in front of a highly partisan, sellout Oklahoma State crowd that harbors an inbred hatred for any person, place or thing decked out in crimson and cream. This was a game Oklahoma had to have to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with four especially tough games straight ahead to close out the regular season.
  • Rivaldo Soares was a game-time decision because of an injured ankle he suffered in the game a week ago against Kansas. The Oregon transfer entered the game six minutes into the opening half. He remained in the game for three minutes, scoring a field goal, but it appeared he might have tweaked the ankle while he was in the game. He returned to the game, however, and contributed four more points before halftime. Soares scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. It is pretty clear that the OU reserve was the critical difference in the game with seven of nine field goals, including three of three from long range.
  • Oklahoma State shot 50 percent for the game, the third straight game the Cowboys have shot 50 percent of better. The Sooners however, shot 68 percent in the second half (15 0f 22), fueling their second-half comeback, and finished the game shooting 57 percent.
  • The Sooners had 16 offensive rebounds in the game (five by Jalon Moore and four by Sam Godwin), which they converted into 21 points.
  • Oklahoma committed just eight turnovers, it was OU's fourth lowest turnover game of the season. The Sooners have two previous games with eight turnovers and one with just seven).