Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lon Kruger brought over a run and gun offense to Norman, OK that has allowed the Sooners to enjoy success early this season. Wednesday night, in their second conference game of the year, the Sooners dropped a home conference game to the Kansas Jayhawks. Oklahoma has rejuvenated their basketball program under coach Kruger. The program has been a silent disaster since the departure of the Griffin Brothers, but are finally on the cusp of competing in the conference.
Wednesday night was evidence that the Sooners are still a far cry away from competing for the Big 12 title. The 90-83 loss was not a bad loss in terms of point differential or play, but a bad loss because it was a home loss to a top flight conference opponent. Oklahoma was able to hang around the entire game, thanks in large part to the play of Cameron Clark, who had a career high 32 points.
When Oklahoma needed a bucket, they put the ball in the hands of Clark and he was nearly automatic from the floor. Clark was 12-16 from the free throw line. The Sooners had 36 free throw attempts on the game and shot 80.6 percent from the charity stripe. Oklahoma’s offense kept the Sooners in the game. Their defense put the final nail in Oklahoma’s coffin.
Oklahoma had trouble defending the talent laden Jayhawks all night long. Kansas would shoot 54.7 percent from the field. The first half Kansas was able to set the tone of the game by getting transition baskets. Oklahoma made the necessary adjustments to whittle down Kansas’ ability to fast break, but could not win the battle on the glass. Oklahoma was out rebounded 36-22 and gave up 11 rebounds.
The disparity on the battle of the boards spelled doom for the Sooners. Kansas is one of the top teams in the country in team field goal percentage, and Oklahoma kept giving them chances to score. If Oklahoma can polish up their defensive game play, they could be in the mix for the Big 12 title. Until that time, the Sooners will be forced to try and outscore every single opponent. A daunting feat in one of the highest scoring conferences in the country.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS.