Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from OU's best game of year, but ending in last-second loss

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

The Oklahoma basketball men played their best game of the season, but it still wasn't enough against the country's top-ranked team.

With 11.5 second remaining and a tie game at 85-all, Houston's Jamal Shead recovered the loose ball from his own missed shot and put it up and in the basket with four-tenths of a second left to give Houston an 87-85 win over the Sooners.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Oklahoma for sure. Head coach Porter Moser was asked in his postgame interview session the mood of the team. "It was a tough vibe in there (locker room)," he said. "It wasn't like they were just happy to be close.

"I mean, they fought their tails off. I thought they believed in the energy level. They made big plays, obviously Houston made big plays as well. They're hurting, and that's a good sign."

Porter Moser after the Houston game

An incredible back-and forth first half ended with Houston's L.J. Cryer hitting a Caitlin Clark-like three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 48-45 halftime edge. The Sooners played one of the best opening halves of the season and against one of the country's top defensive teams. OU shot 50 percent and kept pace with the Big 12 leaders and No. 1 team in the country over the first 20 minutes.

OU, losers of three of its last four games entering Saturday night's game and fighting for its NCAA Tournament life, scored as many points in the first half (45) as the Sooners did in the full game on Wednesday at Iowa State.

Houston came out strong after intermission with an 8-2 scoring run to open up a nine-polnt advantage. and it looked as if the Cougars were on the verge of taking complete control of the game after the toe-to-toe slugfest in opening 20 minutes.. In a period of 90 seconds early in the second half, Cryer drained three triples and the expanded the Houston advantage from 50-47 to 59-51.

At the 12:04 mark in the second half, Houston's lead had grown to its largest margin of the night at 62-57. The Sooners weren't done, however, outscoring the Cougars 22-11 over the final nine minutes of the game.

A two-point field goal by Milos Uzan with 1:11 to go made it 85-82 Houston. The Cougars' Emanual Sharp missed a three-pointer with 37 seconds left, and Moser called the Sooners final time out. Sam Godwin, who had a season-high 17 points, was fouled in the act of shooting coming out of the time out . He made the first three throw to make it a two-point game but missed the second. Uzan grabbed the offensive rebound for Oklahoma, setting up a game-tying layup by Javian McCollum. with 11.5 second left.

That gave Houston just enough time to call time out and set up the game winning play, putting the ball into the hands of their team leader, Shead, who delivered the final blow and avoided the upset.

Now the Sooners (19-10, 7-9) must regroup and put all of this in the past as they get ready to host Cincinnati on Tuesday in the final home game of the season, I will probably be Oklahoma's last good chance to reach the 20-win mark for the first time since 2018-19 under Lon Kruger.

Four takeaways from OU's near primetime upset of No. 1 Houston

  • Oklahoma's 85 points is the most scored against Houston this season. The previous best was 78 by Kansas in handing Houston one of its three losses this season, 78-65, in Lawrence in early February. The Sooners' shooting percentage of 53 percent (29 of 55) is the second highest against Houston in 28 games this season. The Cougars lead the country in scoring defense (57.2 points per game) and rank third in field-goal percentage defense (38.3).
  • The Sooners had 20 points from their bench, 15 of that coming from Le'Tre Darthard, all coming on three-point shots (5 of 7). That was the highest point output of the season for Darthard. His previous best were three games with 14 points.
  • OU committed eight turnovers in the game, which is tied for the second fewest this season. The Sooners had a five-rebound edge (27-22), which speaks to the high percentage of shots going in the basket. The Sooners hit 12 of 25 three-point attempts (48 percent), the second most this season (they hit 13 earlier in the year against Arkansas-Pine Bluff).