Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from a Sooner must win that wasn't

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

An undermanned Oklahoma basketball team gave it all they had against No. 6 Kansas -- and actually led for over 26 minutes in the contest -- but the Sooners couldn't overcome a Jayhawk surge in the closing stretch and suffered their second consecutive loss, 67-57, at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday.

The 25th-ranked Sooners took the lead, 8-5, five minutes into the first half and held the advantage through the first 11 minutes of the second half. Kansas took just its second lead in the game, 49-46, with just over nine minutes remaining and gradually extended the advantage as the OU offense struggled to get shots to drop down the stretch.

Oklahoma played without two key reserves -- guard Rivaldo Soares and 6-foot, 10-inch forward/center John Hugely IV, both held out of the game with injuries -- forcing head coach Porter Moser to go deep into his bench and play a couple of players who have seen very little action this season. The Sooners went with their five starters for most of the game, and that eventually took its toll over the final 10 minutes.

OU led by 11 points, 34-23, on a three-point shot by Le'Tre Darthard with two minutes to go in the first half, but Kansas responded with a 6-0 run to close out the half, which gave the Jayhawks a big confidence boost heading to the locker room at halftime and may have been the turning point in the game.

In the first 14 minutes of the second half, the Sooners had scored just 16 points to 31 by Kansas as the Jayhawks wiped out a five-point halftime deficit with a 38-23 explosion in the second half.

Jalen Moore led the Sooners with 17 points and Javian McCollum had 15. Four of the five Kansas starters scored in double figures, led by Hunter Dickinson with a double-double of 20 points and 16 rebounds.

The Kansas win was the seventh straight over the Sooners and the third in the last five visits to the LNC in Norman. It is also the last time OU will play Kansas in a series that dates back to 1920 unless in the NCAA Tournament, with the Sooners moving to the SEC.

Oklahoma falls to 18-8 overall and 6-7 in the Big 12 with five regular-season games remaining. The Sooners are off until next Saturday when they will be in Stillwater for a 2024 Bedlam rematch against an Oklahoma State team that has been playing its best ball of the season in recent games.

Takeaways from a Loss the Sooners are going to want back

  • Jalon Moore scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the first half on five of seven FG, but he had no field goals in the second half and just four free throws.
  • Kansas scored 30 points in the paint, 20 from Hunter Dickinson, and 13 second-chance points on nine offensive rebounds.
  • Oklahoma shot 43 percent in the first half but shot just 32 percent in the second half on 16 of 50 field goal attempts.
  • The Sooners 7 of 12 three-point shooting in the opening 20 minutes propelled OU to a five-point halftime advantage, but OU was just 1 of 11 from long range in the second half.
  • Because the Sooners had a short rotation because of injures, they got just five bench points in the game. John Hugely and Rivaldo Soares, who were unavailable for the game, average a combined 16 points a game.