The Sooners brought in a senior transfer to round out one of the most experienced starting lineups in the nation.
In the first real test of the season, No. 18 Oklahoma showed too much inexperience in a 65-63 loss to Creighton. The Sooners couldn’t deal with the rowdy crowd on Omaha and lost their first game of the season in really their only real non-conference road test.
“They feed off their crowd,” Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield said of the Bluejays. “Their crowd helped them a lot. I feel like the noise in the building caused us to speed it up a little bit.” As Creighton (3-0) knocked down a quick trio of 3-pointers early in the second half, its crowd of around 16,000 came alive. Oklahoma had held it dormant for much of the night after opening up a 7-0 lead early and then scoring the first seven points of the second half.
With the crowd behind them, the Creighton Bluejays went on a 24-4 run.
With the crowd against them, Oklahoma rushed shots and gave the ball away on offense.
“The crowd like that, you can’t simulate that,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “That part’s good. The experience that we’ll get from this is good.”
Oklahoma isn’t as inexperienced as it showed Wednesday night, turning the ball over three times and missing three 3-pointers on the final seven possessions with the game still in doubt within one possession.
Creighton put Oklahoma on edge, and the Bluejays’ crowd knocked them out.
“We just have to learn from the mistakes that we made,’ said Hield, who scored a game-high 21 points. “I feel like this loss should bring us together even more. We can’t get comfortable with leads. We’ll just go off that and keep going.”
Watching Wednesday was almost like watching two different games. There was one without the crowd, and there was one with it. Oklahoma looked like two different teams.
Oklahoma can run its sets, and perfect its defensive rotation, but it can’t mimic the crowd it faced at Creighton – not in practice and not during the game.
“This is as loud as we’re going to see all year long,” Kruger said.