It was a game which had ups and downs tantamount to that of a roller coaster ride. What started out promising quickly turned bleak for the Sooners, then it turned fortuitous, and concluded devastatingly. Oklahoma fell in overtime to Louisiana Tech on Monday evening, 102-98.
With nine seconds remaining, the Sooners found themselves down, 85-82. Moments ago, Cameron Clark had missed the first of two crucial free throws that could have tied the game. Oklahoma inbounded the ball to freshman point guard Jordan Woodard, who raced hastily up the court, stepped back and missed a wide open three badly. Clark consumed the rebound with three seconds left, wisely looked at the clock, and hurried out to the three point line to put up a wild-looking shot. As it fell through, the crowd was sent into a fervid frenzy. The officials confirmed that it had beaten the buzzer, and the two teams prepared for overtime.
Oklahoma began the overtime how one would expect them to given the circumstances. Obviously still a little juiced from the Clark’s surreal buzzer beater, the Sooners jumped out to an early overtime lead. With a minute and a half remaining, they led by four. With under a minute still, they held the lead. But somewhere, things went awry. After Ryan Spangler missed a questionable three pointer, Woodard committed a foul in transition to give the Bulldogs the lead. From there, it was a free throw shooting game, and one in which the Sooners lost. As Raheem Appleby sunk the second of two free throws to give Louisiana Tech the led with a second remaining, he expunged all hope of another miracle shot.
It was Clark who led the Sooners in scoring with 26 points on 8-for-19 shooting. The senior also recording eight boards, a block and two steals in the loss, managing to make his presence felt everywhere. Spangler was next with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting and 13 rebounds. A myriad of other Sooners had double digit scoring games, but it was Frank Booker that came as the biggest surprise. The freshman set a career high with 12 points, but it was the way in which his points came that made it impressive. Normally a three-point specialist, Booker earned the majority of his points off of twos and free throw shots. He also played solid defense, and ended up with a steal. Woodard and Buddy Hield shared struggles tonight, going a combined 8-for-28 from the floor and 1-for-6 from deep.
Oklahoma dominated most of the first half, and found themselves leading 37-23 with a tad over four minutes left in the first half. However, the Bulldogs ended the half on a 16-2 run to tie the game at 39 apiece by halftime.
One stat that sticks out is three point shooting. Though Oklahoma outshot the Bulldogs from deep (33.3% to 30.3%) Louisiana Tech attempted 33 treys to the Sooners’ 15. The Sooners continually allowed the Bulldogs to hoist up threes, and at times, they got hot. Three point shooting it undoubtedly something that aided Louisiana Tech in staying in the game. Aside from that anomaly, all major statistical categories were fairly even.
All in all, it wasn’t as bad a loss as it seems for the Sooners. Though disappointing because Oklahoma definitely should have won, the Sooners should not be ashamed in losing to a Louisiana Tech team that came into the contest with a 10-3 record. Should Oklahoma rebound well with a win over Texas and an upset over Kansas in its next two games, the Sooners will be back to being a fringe top 25 team.
Next up, the Sooners (11-2) will travel to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns (11-2). Tip-off is set for 7 PM CST on Saturday, Jan. 4.
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