Oklahoma basketball comes up short

oklahoma basketball

After a huge win against the Missouri Tigers, Lon Kruger and the Oklahoma Sooners fell short to the Gonzaga Bulldogs 87-71 on Monday, March 22.

Oklahoma defeating Missouri without its second best player in De’Vion Harmon was already impressive especially after the season the Sooners have had. Gonzaga is the best team in college basketball, and Kruger’s team made them work for the win.

Oklahoma lost by 16 as it just could not keep up with the Bulldogs’ speed and talent. Gonzaga had four different players score over 10 points with Drew Timme leading all scorers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Austin Reaves led the Sooners with 27 points followed by a great performance from Alondes Williams with 15 points. Oklahoma really needed Brady Manek to step up as well as the transfers Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless. All three players combined for 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Sooners also had 21 total fouls and shot 12 free throws, while the Bulldogs shot 26.

It was not a horrible game from Oklahoma but not its best either. At the beginning of this season, the Sooners were not predicted to be as successful as they were. Beating four top-10 teams in one month coming off of winter break was in itself very tough to do. It was when it got closer to the conference tournament that Oklahoma began to fall apart. Losing five of its last six games before the conference tournament is tough because a majority of those games were within three points. The Sooners could not find ways to finish at the end of games throughout the entire season.

This team showed it was better than the credit it was given at the beginning of the season. The problem all year was finishing games but also Kruger’s offense. Kruger ran an NBA offense without any NBA players. All year the Sooners ran motion with pick and rolls and isolation plays with Reaves or Harmon. Oklahoma did not play fast enough nor have near the talent to not have a few plays ran through out the game to give the offense some stability and ways for easy buckets. At times, the offense seemed so scattered and unorganized you’d either see a bad shot go up or a timeout from Kruger to calm his team down.

The interesting story is whether a majority of these players return next year. Kur Kuath is gone to go pro but as for Reaves, Manek and a few others, their return would complement well with the younger recruits coming in. Those decisions will not be made soon but will be watched closely. Oklahoma finished the season 16-11. The Sooners lead the nation with the most wins in the NCAA Tournament without a title. There is always next year.