The final score of 90-76 does not tell the story at all in how lopsided this game was, especially over the first 20 minutes of action. The Bears came out with little effort and even less execution as they shot just 25.8% in the first half, had 9 turnovers and were outscored 47-21 in a half that actually could have been worse. This was quite possibly the worst half of basketball the Bears have played under Scott Drew.
In the pre-game piece, I suspected the Bears might come out in a 2-3 zone defense to make the Sooners shoot over long jumpers and 3-pointers, a weakness of their offense. Well, when you give any team wide open looks, they are going to knock their fair share down. On one attempt, the Ricardo Gathers gave Sam Grooms about 15 feet of space and what felt like 20 seconds to line up the shot and take it. Yes, Grooms is career 24.6% 3-point shooter. But to give any player that much space and time is asking for trouble.
The Sooners have averaged 4 made 3-pointers per game, and they had four at the 15:53 mark of the first half. At that point, the Bears switched back to their man defense, and there is where the most damage was done against them. They continued to switch on ball screens and allowed open jumpers all over the court. In the first half, Oklahoma made 44.8% of their shots, and also added 15 points from the free throw line. For a team that averages 19 free throws per game, they had 17 at intermission and finished with an astonishing 45 attempts in a game that the refs allowed little to no contact.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they were not the ones initiating any contact in the first half due to passive plays, and then were forced to play very aggressive on the defensive end to catch up. When the refs are calling ticky-tack foul calls, that is a recipe for disaster.
Speaking of the aforementioned Grooms, he has been roughly a 60% free throw shooter for his career, but managed to make 15 of 17 free throw attempts himself in a statistic that completely defined this game. Their role players stepped up and played great, while the Baylor role players struggled to do anything.
Maligned senior starter A.J. Walton was 2-7 from the field, Brady Heslip was 4-10 for 11 points, but scored 6 of those points with less than 5 minutes to go. Cory Jefferson had just 6 points in 24 minutes. The Baylor bench also did very little, with just 10 points, with Rico Gathers scoring zero points in just 7 minutes. The Bears never led in this game, and quite honestly never deserved to.
Even the Baylor stars were terrible in the first half, as Pierre Jackson was just 1-8 before the intermission and played sloppy and out of control. He settled for long jumpers that we pretty much always short. Honestly, he looked tired or uninterested, it was hard to tell. In the second half though, Jackson was more like himself. He finished with a game high 28 points and 8 assists that will make his box score look at acceptable and help him continue to lead the Big 12 in scoring and assists, but what does that really mean for this team?
The Bears were out-coached, out-played, and out-hustled all over the court in the first half. After that, it is really hard to view the second half as a good thing, even with the Bears trimming the lead substantially. So what now? Well, now the Bears have to come close to winning out in the regular season to put themselves on the right side of the bubble. But honestly, does anyone truly think that will happen?
Overreaction Central - Bears Embarrassed
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