STILLWATER, Okla. — Just when Kelvin Sampson thought things couldn't any worse for his Oklahoma basketball team after Sunday's embarrassing loss to UConn ... they did.
Oklahoma State guard John Lucas scored 22 points and Tony Allen added 20 as the un-ranked Cowboys handed the 11th-ranked Sooners their second straight 20-plus point defeat, 77-56, Wednesday night in Stillwater.
Once again, Oklahoma's downfall was turnovers and poor shooting. The Sooners shot just 35 percent from the field and recorded a season-high 20 turnovers.
"We had some guys that didn't play as well tonight as I know they can. They kind of no-showed on us," said a disappointed Sampson. "We have had dog fights in this gym the last two years, and we fought our hearts out the last two years. This team has got to find a way to fight like we have in the past."
OU's turnovers and poor shooting put them in a hole from the opening tip as Oklahoma State jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first two minutes. The Cowboys would later increase their lead to 17 (33-16) at the 6:49 mark of the first half, but the Sooners used a 9-0 run and eventually cut the lead to 35-26 at halftime.
The second half started much like the first, as the Sooners missed their first six shots while OSU went on an 8-0 to break the game open. The Sooners would never get closer than 14 points.
But as cold as the Sooners were shooting from the field, the Cowboys were hot — hitting 58 percent of their shots.
"OSU shot the ball well," said Sampson. "They shot the ball really well late in the shot clock, but some of those were defensive breakdowns. Our defense can play a lot better."
"Your defense is only as good as your point of attack. Drew (Lavender) is going to continue to improve as an offensive player, but he needs to get better on defense."
Speaking of Lavender, the freshman point guard may have not impressed Sampson with his defense, but the Columbus, Ohio native was the only Sooner who showed any signs of life on the offensive side of the floor, and kept the game from looking much uglier in the box score with nine second half points.
Lavender, who came into the game leading the Sooners in scoring with a 12.5 point per game average, led the Sooners again with 15 points.
Sophomore forward Kevin Bookout pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, but left the game midway through the second half after re-injuring his shoulder. Sampson says Bookout's availability for Saturday's game against Missouri will be determined later this week.
"We need something positive to happen on Saturday," said Sampson. "I'm not upset because we lost at O-State and at Connecticut. I'm just upset about how hard we are playing defensively. Little things we have always been good at, we're not. A lot of it is inexperience, but a lot of it is because we are not as tough as we need to be.
"There's nothing to panic about losing on the road to UConn and O-State. But we have to start playing better. I think we can."
Tip-off for Saturday's Big 12 home opener in Norman is set for 12 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center.
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