The only word for it is embarrassing
Everything was in place for a huge home court victory, all but the team that had to go win it
Just what exactly are coach Porter Moser’s Oklahoma men trying to do?
Is there a leader?
Is there somebody to turn to when it’s all falling apart.
Or is the whole idea you don’t need one guy when you have eight very capable guys on the roster. Well, unless all you really have is even, given Sam Godwin again got the start only to play nine minutes and fewer than 16 for the fourth time in five games.
Is OU’s depth a myth?
Is it all a house of cards?
You’re right, that’s too much.
The sky doesn’t have to be falling, it only feels like it.
Whatever, and however you want to categorize it, here the Sooners were, their Red River rivals on the other bench, inside Lloyd Noble Center, Texas not ranked at all and OU ranked 11th in all the land.
The crowd was terrific and the student section was fantastic, perhaps historic, never taking a seat and making all kinds of noise, Texas possession after Texas possession, immediately following Otega Oweh’s layup that made it a three-point game with 14:39 remaining, just when their team needed them.
You want to talk about a sixth man? Tuesday, the students were it.
But didn’t work.
The Sooners were excellent in moments — a 17-2 run over 4:54 of clock time near the end of the first half gave them a six-point lead — but also terrible from the beginning and awful at the end in what became a 75-60 Longhorn victory.
The pregame notes put together by the athletic department’s media relations staff reminded that in the NET ratings, which go a long way toward determining NCAA tourney attendance and seeding, OU entered 20th and sixth in the Big 12 and Texas entered 59th and 10th.
The notes did not say the Sooners simply can’t lose games like this, but they’d have been right if they had, and not only did they lose, it wasn’t even close.
“We didn’t play to our standards …,” Moser said. “We looked tired in the second half.”
Tired or clueless, take your pick.
After Oweh’s layup, and the students finding their loudest voice, John Hugley, who doesn’t get the ball in his hands nearly enough, canned two free throws to pull OU within 49-48 with 13:22 remaining.
The skies looked bright.
A layup from Jalon Moore made it 52-52 at the 12:06 mark.
Yet, at the other end, Max Abmas, an Oral Roberts Golden Eagle until this, his fifth collegiate season, knocked down a 3-pointer, putting Texas in front and foreshadowing the remainder of regulation.
With 8:09 left, the Longhorns pushed their edge to 11 points and the Sooners were never again nearer than nine.
Nobody waved the white flag, but had it taken place in a ring, a white towel might have been appropriate.
Moser made an interesting comment. He said we hear all the time how a team can’t allow it’s offensive failings to fuel defensive lapses, but this was the opposite. As the Sooners failed to keep the Longhorns off the board, their offense became more and more stagnant.
It ground to a halt.
The opening of the contest appeared bad enough.
OU needed 10 possessions to score four points and the game’s first 11:10 to finally put more than 10 on the board.
“We weren’t playing with the pace Texas was playing with,” Hugley said.
The end was worse.
OU appeared to have no plan, no single player at that point playing with any confidence, no single player telling his teammates to get out of the way while he attacked the Longhorns’ constant man defense.
“We really got down and guarded,” said Abmas, who led everybody with 22 points.
OU did not know what to do.
Texas (14-5, 3-3 Big 12) closed on a 20-6 run over the game’s final 10:14. And, if it hasn’t hit you yet, that also means OU (15-4, 3-3) scored a total of six points over the game’s final 10:14.
The sad part for Sooner Nation is its team appears bound for one of two outcomes.
One, it will be as it was two seasons ago, when OU stunned 11th-ranked Iowa State to move to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, only to lose seven of its next eight, killing a promising campaign.
Two, OU will mount a comeback, holding serve at home, stealing a few games away and, though a huge regular season it will not be, OU will remain viable nonetheless and find its way back to the NCAA tournament, a state of affairs that would include Moser keeping his job.
The problem with Tuesday was it made option No. 1 appear far more probable, because the moment Texas found a second-half spark, not only could OU not begin to stop it, nor could it begin to answer with a spark of its own.
Six points over 10 minutes on the way to the buzzer?
“I’ve got to put them in better positions,” Moser said, a moment later, adding, “We’ll bounce back.”
You have to love his defiance.
He’s been defiant before.
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