STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma was a couple of baskets away from pulling off the salvage the season triple this week.
Step one was beating Texas on Tuesday. Step two was the commitment of Norman (Okla.) North five-star point guard Trae Young on Thursday.
The final piece was Bedlam at Oklahoma State, but it wasn’t meant to be in a 96-92 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday evening.
"Good battle, obviously," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought both teams really laid it out there and did a good job. I thought our guys fought like crazy. Obviously they finished plays in the last couple minutes where we didn’t.
"We’ve got to keep working at doing a better job to finish things out but Evans had a terrific stretch their late and couldn’t get a handle on him but thought guys on both clubs played hard, played well, fought like crazy and it was a terrific basketball game."
OU led 82-69 with nine minutes left when OSU’s Jawun Evans took over. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half and scored 16 of OSU’s final 18 points to rally the Cowboys to the win.
The loss diminishes an otherwise stellar performance by sophomore Rashard Odomes. He scored a career-high 29 points with 10 rebounds in posting his first double-double of his career.
It was the same story OU fans have heard often this season. The Sooners failure to execute proved costly down the stretch as OU only had three fields goals in the final eight minutes. OU shot 55 percent from the floor and connected on 10 3-pointers but was unable to make the plays late.
"That’s always the toughest," Kruger said. "Scoring late. Making winning plays late. Whether it be the free throw line or knocking down a shot or getting a shot, that’s the difference between winning games and losing games. We’ve just not finished games very well. We have to keep working. We have to keep growing. The more that we’re in that position, the more experience we’re going to gain and hopefully we’ll get better results."
OU received strong bench play with Dante Buford and Christian James both scoring 13 points as OU outscored OSU 37-12 in that department.
Freshman Kameron McGusty added 10 points, while guard Jordan Shepherd only had three points but came up big with five assists.
The Sooners (9-17 overall, 3-11 in Big 12) head to Waco to play Baylor on Tuesday evening.