By Tyler Zaring, Sports Writer
This past Saturday the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas Jayhawks played for the second time this season. The winner of the game would take the lead in a tough Big 12 conference.
Oklahoma was coming off a loss to Kansas State last week, while Kansas has been playing well. These two teams met earlier in the year playing at Kansas. That game went into three overtimes where Kansas finally came out ahead to win by a score of 109-106. The game on Saturday was in Oklahoma where the Sooners looked to even the series on their home court.
The game started off slowly with Oklahoma, the best three point shooting team in the league, struggling to make even a two point shot. Oklahoma started the game shooting two of nine – an abysmal 22 percent. Buddy Hield one of the best players in the country this year went the whole first half without scoring a field goal.
Kansas’ defense was swarming but heavy fouls led Oklahoma to the free throw line 18 times in the first half where the Sooners made 15 of those shots. The free throw shooting kept Oklahoma in the game in the first half, they went into the locker room trailing Kansas 38 to 33.
The second half started much like the first did, with Kansas shooting well and playing strong defense. Devonte’ Graham had played stifling defense against Buddy Hield holding him to almost nothing in the first half. During the second half Hield was able to break free from pick plays to set up some three point opportunities.
Hield made three consecutive three’s to put the Sooners up on Kansas. Devonte’ Graham held Buddy Hield to just 24 points, well below his average. Graham on the offensive side had the best game of his career scoring 27 points, 17 of those coming in the second half.
Perry Ellis had a strong game even though it won’t show in the box score.. Ellis scored 10 points with seven rebounds. For Oklahoma, Isaiah Cousins scored 21 points to keep his team in the game. For Kansas, Frank Mason III scored 14 points and was the second leading scorer for the Kansas Jayhawks behind Devonte’ Graham.
Oklahoma made a last second push in the second half. Hield hit a couple three pointers, but Kansas came back strong with a couple good offensive plays. Oklahoma outscored Kansas 39 to 38 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their first half deficit and Kansas went on to win 76 to 72.
This marks the second week in a row Oklahoma has had a loss in their conference and this one saw their conference lead fall to the Jayhawks who are now in sole possession of first place.