OU Basketball

Doolittle leads the way again as Sooners avoid letdown against the Cyclones

Doolittle leads the way again as Sooners avoid letdown against the Cyclones

NORMAN- Often after a big win, you have to worry about a letdown. 

Following their first ranked win of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners emphatically avoided anything resembling a lack of focus.

Everything clicked for the Sooners as they avenged their prior loss to Iowa State, dismantling the Cyclones 90-61.

“We knew coming into this game that we couldn’t have a letdown,” Sooner forward Kristian Doolittle said.

“Especially since the way we got beat at their place, so we kind of had some revenge we had to give back to them.”

With the victory, Oklahoma moved to 16-8 on the season and 6-5 in Big 12 Conference play.

On the heels of a huge bounce-back performance against West Virginia, Doolittle pieced together another excellent outing. Doolittle paced all scorers yet again with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

“I thought [Doolittle’s] energy from the start really gave us a good lift again right out of the gate,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said after the game. 

Despite the lopsided final scoreline, the game was tight at the end of the first half. Oklahoma needed a costly turnover by Iowa State to setup an Austin Reaves three just before time expired.

After leading by just four points at the break, Oklahoma picked up their intensity on the defensive end of the floor. 

“Defensively, we started pressuring the ball and got turnovers,” Sooner guard Jamal Bieniemy said.

The Sooners forced a turnover on three of the first four Cyclone second half possessions, spurring a quick 6-0 run. 

Oklahoma never looked back. 

Posting 50 points in the half, Oklahoma busted open the game and got everyone involved.

Alondes Williams was one of the beneficiaries of the forced turnovers, scoring seven points in the opening moments of the half. 

“Alondes [Williams] opened the second half with great energy,” Kruger said. “That really got us started out of the gate in the second half.”

By the time the dust settled, Oklahoma finished with six players in double figures. 

The Sooners played one of their most complete games of the season. Dominating the boards and the free throw battle, Oklahoma came out of the gate with the intention to set the tone and executed, playing the game on their terms. 

“I feel like we played how we were supposed to play,” Doolittle said.

“We couldn’t be looking ahead to the Kansas game and things like that and slip up and lose here.”

The win comes at a great time for the Sooners, as they are about to embark on a tough five game stretch. Four of Oklahoma’s next five games come against ranked opposition, including back-to-back matchups against top three teams in Kansas and Baylor. 

“You can look at pretty much any three or four game stretch in Big 12 play and just say ‘wow, that’s tough’,” Kruger said. “[Next] we’ve got two of the top three teams in the country, but that’s the way it is in the Big 12.”

Oklahoma first test of the grueling stretch comes Saturday in Allen Field House.

The Sooners and the Kansas Jayhawks are scheduled to tip-off at 11 a.m.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

OU Basketball

Ryan Chapman covers Oklahoma Athletics and the Oklahoma City Thunder for 107.7 The Franchise since 2019. Chapman has previously worked for OCCC's Student Newspaper, The Pioneer, where Chapman covered the Oklahoma City Energy, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Oklahoma Athletics and the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his time with The Pioneer, Chapman served as the Sports Editor as well as the Editor-in-Chief. Chapman is the cohost of the Sideline Warning Podcast as well as the Heisman Park Rangers Podcast, which both can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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