Coming off a loss to Kansas State, the Sooners were looking to bounce back against their in-state rival in Stillwater, Oklahoma. No. 4 Oklahoma came into game’s today a game back in the Big 12 conference race, with their Bedlam counterpart looking to avoid a fall to last place.
Behind a historic performance from Trae Young, the Sooners came back from a 25-6 deficit to make this edition of Bedlam one of the best in recent memory. Oklahoma had a 69-64 lead late and looked to be in control of the game before Oklahoma State made one final run. With eight seconds left in regulation, Kendall Smith hit a three to tie the game and sent it to overtime…and the Cowboys then did everything they needed to give the Sooners their second road loss of the week.
“Very hard fought. Obviously, (Oklahoma State) opened up the game sharp, (had) a lot of emotion, and jumped out there,” Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger said following his team’s 83-81 loss to Oklahoma State. “Thought our guys did a good job hanging in there in the first half and then regrouping and doing what they needed to get back in the ballgame in the second half.
Again, tough battle until the end. I thought they got back some missed shots late in regulation and in overtime that hurt us. We couldn’t get that rebound at critical times especially when we had a lead there a couple times. Credit to (Oklahoma State). They did what they needed to do to win and we didn’t.”
Trae Young accomplished something today that no other player in Bedlam history has done before. Coming off his worst game of the season, the freshman needed to rebound in order for his team to escape Stillwater. He did that with 48 points on 14-0f-39 shooting, including 8-20 from three–the most ever by a player in Bedlam history at Gallagher-Iba Arena. His performance was a reason Oklahoma was in the game, and the reason Oklahoma was out of the game.
The ball movement was lacking while Young went on his run in the second half, and that continued into overtime when Young wasn’t on his run. This, along with Brady Manek and Christian James going 2-of-13 from three, ended up being everything Oklahoma State needed to grind out a win.
“Got to get back to more movement,” Kruger said. “(Oklahoma State) does a great job of getting up under the receivers and taking them out. We have to work a little harder to get more motion away from the ball and get the ball moving a little bit. What Trae is doing with the ball is pretty special, but we have to get it moving, too.”
Behind 13,611 people, Gallagher-Iba Arena lived up to its reputation as one of the best venues in college basketball. At multiple points in the game, anyone inside the arena would have to yell to communicate, if they could be heard at all. The noise was not an issue to Oklahoma, but it was just a small part of what made this one of the best Bedlam games in recent memory.
“The other night, when I stood here and told you that if (Oklahoma State fans) continued to do what you do, we will continue to fight for the name across the front of our chest,” Oklahoma State head coach, Mike Boynton, said as he addressed the crowd after they rushed the court.
After the game, fifth-year Oklahoma State guard Jeffery Carroll was asked where this Bedlam ranked up with his all-time games at his home arena. After taking a second to think about it, his answer provided everything anyone needed to know about the kind of atmosphere and game that took place inside historic Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“This may actually be the best one I think, in my opinion,” He said. “‘Cause ya know, we fought for 40-45 minutes and it was just so much emotion and so much passion and pride from us tonight.”
No. 4 Oklahoma will likely be without a top ten ranking next week, but just like with Oklahoma State today, they can change the trajectory of their season once again with Kansas coming to Norman on Tuesday. The Sooners will be two games back in the Big 12 heading into that game (if outcome of Kansas and Baylor remains the same), and need a win against the Jayhawks to keep up in the conference race.