NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger has been quick to say everything this season is a learning experience with so many new faces seeing so much considerable playing time.
Saturday was another one but not the positive kind. Plagued by turnovers and lack of execution late, the Sooners fell 92-87 in double overtime against visiting Iowa State on Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.
The Sooners, who were vying for their third straight conference victory, were unable to withstand the defensive pressure from the Cyclones en route to 25 turnovers with 18 of those being steals for Iowa State.
OU was able to thrive against the full-court pressure defense against West Virginia on Wednesday evening despite how successful the Mountaineers have been. But ISU’s experience proved to be too much for the Sooners.
OU turned the ball over eight times in the two overtimes and simply had no answers for the Cyclones in the second extra frame.
“Very important to learn from this for the games coming up in the future,” Kameron McGusty said. “We have another round of Big 12 play and we still have Texas and Oklahoma State coming up. We need to learn for this for the next half of the Big 12.”
Senior guard Jordan Woodard scored all 21 of his points in the second half and the two overtimes, while freshman Kristian Doolittle had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Doolittle was back in the starting lineup and showed why, playing 36 minutes and making key contributions late in the game for the second straight contest.
It was another odd game from Woodard in that he was a total non-factor in the scoring column in the first half before coming alive for at least 18 points after the second half for the third consecutive game.
“I think he was more aggressive in the second half,” Kruger said. “When we made the run, I think he did a good job of getting downhill and attacking. A lot of it is what the defense gives and what’s there for the taking. I thought he was aggressive in the second half like he needed to be.”
OU came out the gate strong, taking a 28-9 lead with 7:52 left in the first half. And then the Sooners would not make another field goal until the second half as ISU closed on a 21-1 run to change the game around at the break.
Freshman Kameron McGusty continued his stellar play in conference with 19 points and two steals, but the freshman was hounded by the Cyclones defense all afternoon and committed a team-high seven turnovers.
No rest for the weary. Overtime in Morgantown on Wednesday. Two of them vs. the Cyclones. And in 48 hours, it’s back at it as OU heads to Austin to take on Texas.
“Quick turnaround. We'll come back tomorrow, we won't do a lot activity-wise,” Kruger said. “We'll watch film, we'll shoot, we'll stretch, we'll do the things to try to give us a chance to recover from Monday night but they're young and they're anxious to get back out there and bounce back.”