Oklahoma’s drive to win the regular season Big 12 title took a big hit as the Sooners fell to Kansas 76-72 in Norman.
The loss put OU in third place in the Big 12 behind KU and West Virginia, who are tied for the lead. It gave the Jayhawks a season sweep of the Sooners.
“That was another tough ball game,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “We got off to a slow start and Kansas did a great job making shots and creating a bit of a margin from which we were battling uphill all night long. I’m proud of the guys’ effort. They kept scratching on a night where they weren’t making shots, but you have to credit Kansas for a lot of that too.
“Our guys kept working, kept calm and we were within reach and made a good run there in the second half to get the lead, but with the lead we couldn’t get a stop. Credit Kansas for going down and making big plays. (Devonte’) Graham of course was great during that stretch. We just have to keep working and regroup and we’ll have to play a little bit better and get one next time.”
The loss snapped OU’s 19-game home winning streak. OU fell to 5-3 this season against teams ranked in the AP’s top 25.
“We’ve just got to step up and make shots early,” Hield said. “We’re always used to making shots early, and getting out on teams, and we haven’t been doing that lately. We just have to do a better job and it starts with me, Ryan (Spangler) and Isaiah (Cousins) getting every one together and making shots.”
Three Sooners scored in double figures in the contest, including Buddy Hield (24 points), Isaiah Cousins (21 points) and Jordan Woodard (10 points). With 10 treys today, OU extended its school record to 16 games this season hitting 10-plus 3-pointers in a contest.
“ I thought, for the most part, we kept Buddy (Hield) and Jordan (Woodard) out of the paint, although Buddy still shot a lot of free throws,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “Isaiah had a really nice game. You can’t guard them all. We did a really good job of running. That’s about as good as we can play defensively against a team like this.”
“Preparing for this game and for Oklahoma is not all about Buddy Hield, but everyone,” said KU’s Devonte Graham. “You have to guard (Ryan) Spangler, (Jordan) Woodard, and (Isaiah) Cousins.
“We just tried to contain them and make every shot tough. Buddy still knocked down five threes, so he still got his shots off and had a good game. I just tried to play the very best defense I could.”
Hield extended his school record for 3-point field goals made to 303. Hield is the first player in OU history to hit 300 3-pointers in a career. He is just the sixth player in Big 12 history to record at least 300 triples in a career.
“We’d like to shoot 50 percent like we were three or four games ago, but teams aren’t going to let you do that comfortably,” Kruger said. “You’ve got to figure out some other ways to score and we don’t know exactly what that means at this point, but we’ve got to keep moving and create better looks for each other.”