Lawrence, KS—The Oklahoma Sooners kicked off 2019 with a big test against Kansas. The 23 ranked Sooners came into the night 11-1 with a very respectable non-conference schedule. Kansas came in with three wins against top 25 opponents. However, KU came out flat. Oklahoma got out to a 7-0 lead within three minutes of game time. OU would only manage to hang on to that for just a few more minutes as the Jayhawks took the lead with 11:37 to go in the first half and never looked back.
Poor transition, turnovers, and missed open shots plagued the Sooners all night. OU continues to not take care of the ball as they coughed it up 17 times against the Jayhawks. Those 17 turnovers immediately became 22 points for KU.
Udoka Azubuike was key for the Jayhawks even though he did not see the floor past the 3:47 mark in the second half. He had 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 23 minutes. Azubuike made his presence felt as OU was forced to settle for threes and jumpers.
Brady Manek had himself a solid performance putting up 16 points along with 11 rebounds. Manek fought hard against the Kansas frontcourt making up as best he could for Jamuni McNeace who was limited to just two minutes as he continues to heal a sprained ankle. In for McNeace, Kristian Doolittle dropped 12 points while grabbing 8 rebounds.
Whether lucky or by design, OU held Kansas to just 4-21 from three-point range. The Jayhawks started both halves ice cold with KU’s 15-point halftime lead cut down to 4 before KU got a shot to fall after six and a half minutes of game time.
Although this was Oklahoma’s worst game since their loss to Wisconsin, OU’s hung in there with the best team in the conference. It was ugly, yes but the game could have been decided well before the final buzzer. Oklahoma opens conference play with a loss but they showed the Big 12 that they won’t be a pushover as projected.
The Sooners fall to 11-2 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 play. OU opens up home conference play against Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan 5 at 1 PM.