Typically, a loss to a team from the A-10 like Saint Louis would be frowned upon by the Sooner Nation. Yet, after two straight losing seasons, and incredibly low standards as a result, plus a much improved Saint Louis team, Sunday evenings 83-63 loss to the Bilikens in the 76 Classic championship game didn’t come as much of a shock, if any at all.
Plagued by early foul trouble, the Sooners looked sloppy from the get go. Andrew Fitzgerald, Romero Osby, and Sam Grooms all sat nearly half the first half out due to foul trouble. The Bilikens, seized the opportunity to take advantage of the gap inside, scoring the majority of their first half points off of easy drives to the lane. Once the defensive adjustment was made, the Bilikens simply found a new means of scoring knocking down three treys within the final five minutes of the half to take a 39-30 lead into the locker room.
The second half appeared to be much more promising, with Fitzgerald, Osby, and Grooms all making resurgences into the lineup. To no avail, however, much of the same continued, sloppy handling, bad shot selection, and the exact opposite by Saint Louis. The Sooners turned the ball over a total of 12 times, which doesn’t seem that bad until you consider the fact the Saint Louis only recorded one steal on the evening, meaning the Sooners cause 11 of those 12 turnovers themselves, really becoming their own downfall.
The Sooners also totaled five assists on the night, FIVE. For a team averaging 15 per game coming into the contest, that’s a serious lack of ball movement, and is certainly not going to win games.
Then again, maybe it was just the Bilikens night.
Not often are you going to beat any team that shoots 60% from the floor, and 53% from three, which is exactly what the Bilikens did. It was a seemingly flawless performance for Saint Louis, but Oklahoma certainly didn’t help their case.
Not to say that there weren’t any good things that came out of this loss, Romero Osby, the Sooner Player of the Game,
certainly impressed with 14 points and six rebounds in just 24 minutes and Cameron Clark, who is really coming on strong after a slow start, added 14 of his own. If anything this game will serve as a learning experience for the young squad, who will be much improved by their next top 25 matchup.
Overall, from what has been displayed over the weekend, the Sooners are already miles ahead of last season’s team, and only five games into the year. The progress this team makes from start to finish of this season will be interesting to track. After last season though, it seems the only way the Sooners can go is upward, which is exactly where Kruger has them headed.
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