Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from Sooners' Big 12-opening win

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

There are those who may have questioned the 12-1 record of the Oklahoma basketball men entering the much tougher Big 12 portion of the schedule, but the Sooners sent a message to those in doubt with a solid win over a very good Iowa State team in their Big 12 opener on Saturday.

The Sooners improved to 13-1 with a 71-63 home victory over Iowa State, and most impressive was the way they closed it out to seal the win.

Oklahoma led the game for all but five minutes but found itself down by one, 58-57, with just over four minutes left to go. This scenario might have spelled doom for the Sooners a year ago, but this year's team refuses to cave under adversity. OU responded with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes on a dunk by Sam Godwin, a three-pointer from Le'Tre Darthard followed by a lay-in by Godwin that brought the crowd to its feet and prompted an Iowa State timeout.

The Cyclones (11-3) would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, with Oklahoma converting seven of eight free throws in the last minute and a half to close out the win.

Four Sooners scored in double digits in the game, led by Javian McCollum's 15 points. Milos Uzan had 12, Darthard 11 and Godwin finished with 10. On defense, Oklahoma held Iowa State's top two scorers, Tamin Lipsey and Keshon Gilbert, to just 10 total points. They came into the game averaging 15 and 14 points, respectively between them.

Next up for the Sooner men is a trip to Ft. Worth, Texas, for a game on Wednesday with TCU and OU's first true road game of the season. The Sooners follow the TCU road trip with one to Kansas on Saturday.

The Horned Frogs (11-3) came very close to upsetting No. 2 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday before falling 83-81. If that is any indication, Oklahoma is going to have its hands full in its next two games.

Three takeaways that tell the story of the game

  • The score in this game was well below the season average of both teams. Iowa State had averaged 86 point a game, including six consecutive games won by double-digit margins, while the Sooners were averaging 82 points a game. The final score reflected the ability of both teams to execute on the defensive end as well.
  • The Oklahoma defense, the best Porter Moser has had in his three seasons at OU, held Iowa State's two best scorers, Tamin Lipsey and Keshon Gilbert, to just 10 points combined. The pair came into the game averaging 15 and 14 points, respectively, between them.
  • Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Sooner men. Their 13 turnovers per game average is the third worst in the Big 12. Against Iowa State OU turned the ball over 11 times. Iowa State converted those turnovers into 18 points and also scored 15 second-chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds.