Oklahoma basketball: Red hot Sooners take down Cyclones

Oklahoma basketball has absolutely come out of the woodwork this season and unexpectedly nabbed a spot in the AP poll’s top 10 going into the madness of March. With the March Madness brackets lingering over our heads, Sooner basketball continues to work its way up in the ranks after taking down the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday.

Iowa State sits at the very bottom in the Big 12 Conference having now gone 0-13 in the conference after its game against the Sooners this weekend. However, with the Big-12 being arguably one of the most, if not the most competitive conference in college basketball right now, there was no time for the Sooners to count the Cyclones out before the game even started.

Game Time Action

Going into the game, it was pretty apparent to the Cyclones which Sooner player they were going to need to shut down defensively, that player being OU superstar Austin Reaves. Early on in the game, the Cyclones pressed Reaves hard with the pressure that Reaves tends to put on his opponents.

Nailing down Reaves from the jump caused the Sooners to shift their game plan to an area where they would be capable of applying the pressure necessary to beat the Cyclones.

However, when you are ranked in the top 10 nationally, of course, you are going to find a way to apply that pressure quickly, and that the Sooners did. Leading by as much as 21 points in the first half, the Sooners made a collective team effort to really put it up against Iowa State, proving Reaves isn’t the only weapon the Oklahoma basketball team possesses.

As quick as the Sooners were up, they seemed to let the pressure get to them at the closing of the first half as we have often seen this team do this year. Going into the locker room for halftime, the Sooners’ once 21-point lead turn into only a one-point lead with the Cyclones trailing 46-45.

At this point, it pretty much goes without saying that the OU basketball team is very much a second-half squad, based on recent history. Going into the second half, Reaves explains that during halftime the team was capable of recollecting its focus and going out there to get the job done.

Coming out into the second half, the Sooners looked dialed in and recharged ready to seal their win against Iowa State. In the end, Oklahoma came out hot with Reaves totaling 20 points, followed by De’Vion Harmon and Umoja Gibson who both put up 10 points apiece, including at least one 3-pointer for the both of them.

In the end, senior captain Reaves once again sealed the game for the Sooners with a free throw. After a close second half due to the comeback the Sooners allowed at the end of the first half, Reaves’ free throws in the last few minutes of the game was what marginalized the score for OU putting it in a safe place for victory.

In the end, the Sooners were capable of getting the job done against the Cyclones winning 66-56 making this their third straight win after the heartbreaking loss to Texas Tech.

The Sooners now sit ranked No. 7 in the AP poll and second within the Big 12. With the Baylor Bears currently leading the Big 12 and sitting ranked second nationally, many believe that the Sooners should end their season second in the conference, and even without a conference win, Oklahoma basketball will see the best seed for the NCAA Tournament since 2018.

Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics Communications