OU Basketball: Five Reasons Sooners Gave Away the Game to Northern Iowa

We’ve seen this movie before with OU basketball. The Sooners fire out to a big lead only to squander it away with a late-game cold spell.

Mar 18, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Jordan Woodard (10) celebrates after defeating the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma squandered an 18-point second-half lead, but scored only 16 points over the final 15 minutes of the game, and Northern Iowa stormed from behind to take a 73-67 victory in overtime on Friday in the second round of the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando.

The Sooners led 31-18 at the half, holding the Panthers of Northern Iowa to just seven first-half field goals and 26-percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes.

Oklahoma widened its lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but managed just 10 points and just one field goal from the 11:26 point in the second half till the end of regulation. Meanwhile, Northern Iowa outscored the Sooners 26-10 over that span, sending the game into an extra session.

Were it not for a made three-pointer by OU freshman Kristian Doolittle with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, the Panthers would have won the game in regulation.

The Sooners took a brief one-point lead, at 62-61, on a free throw by Doolittle halfway through the overtime period, but the Panthers outscored Oklahoma 12 to 5 the rest of the way to seal the improbable victory.

It was OU’s first loss after two victories and the first time the Sooners have lost to a nonconference opponent during the regular season since dropping a 69-67 decision to Washington in December 2014.

“It’s a game that gives a lot of opportunities to learn,” said OU head coach Lon Kruger in his postgame comments. “Turnovers, valuing possessions and finishing plays strong – all those will get better at.

“When they made some threes and got back into it, we didn’t handle that very well. But all things to learn from, the good and the bad and certainly a lot of good in the first 30 (minutes) and a lot bad in the last 15.”

Five Reasons on How the Sooners Gave Away the Game to Northern Iowa

  • When you don’t make a field goal for over 11 minutes late in the game and commit nine turnovers over that same time span, you are not giving yourself a chance to win.
  • The Sooners showed their inexperience and poor ball-handling skills, committing a whopping 24 turnovers in the game, five each by backcourt players Jordan Woodard and Kristian Doolittle.
  • Oklahoma had the hot hand in the opening half, hitting 12 of 28 shots from the field for 43 percent. The tables flipped, however, in the second half; Northern Iowa improved its shooting touch from 26 percent in the opening 20 minutes to 54 percent in the second stanza. The Sooners, on the other hand, couldn’t hit anything down the stretch and didn’t even get off a shot on nine different trips. Oklahoma shot a miserable 27 percent in the second half, hitting just 6 of 22 field-goal attempts.
  • Northern Iowa’s Klint Carlson was ice cold in the first half. He was 1 for 6 from the field and 0 for 3 from three-point range. Carlson came to life in the second half, and once he did he was nearly unstoppable, hitting 4 of 5 three-point shots. OU’s Khadeem Lattin could not guard Carlson out on the perimeter. The 6-foot, 7-inch Panther forward finished the game with a game-high 22 points, most of which came in Northern Iowa’s incredible 26-5 run over the final 10 minutes in regulation.
  • In OU’s two wins this season, the Sooners scored a total of 92 points in the paint and received 63 points off the bench. Against Northern Iowa, OU had just 22 points in the paint and received only 10 points from the bench.

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