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Streak Over: Sooners end Kansas’ Big 12 reign 81-68

Photos by Brayden Conover
Streak Over: Sooners end Kansas’ Big 12 reign 81-68

Norman, Okla.— Kansas’ 14 season streak of winning the Big 12 regular season title came to an end by the tune to an 81-68 thumping. The Sooners win came on an emotional night for both Oklahoma head trainer Alex Brown and OU’s seniors.

The Sooners announced earlier this week that longtime team trainer Alex Brown would be retiring at the conclusion of the season. Brown has been with the Sooners for 32 seasons including three Final Four appearances and four head coaches.

Trainer Alex Brown (center) being honored prior to a game alongside OU athletic director Joe Castiglione (left) and head coach Lon Kruger (right).

The game was also the last home game for Oklahoma’s senior class, who were honored prior to Saturday’s game against West Virginia.

The Lloyd Noble Center was rocking as Oklahoma came out of their corner swinging from the opening tip. The Sooners started the game on an 18-7 run, making their first five three-pointers.

“We knew what was on the line for this game…we wanted to come out and hit them first,” Sophomore forward Brady Manek said postgame. “I think we did that.”

Manek helped the Sooners punch first and punch hard. 15 of his 21 points came in the first half.

Kristian Doolittle benefitted once again from Manek’s hot hand. His 24 points led all scorers. Doolittle also hauled in 11 rebounds.

Also benefitting from the space created by Manek and Doolittle was Rashard Odomes. The Senior guard posted a very efficient 12 points.

Odomes said postgame that having Manek and Doolittle hit shots opened up the floor for everyone else.

Oklahoma kept the Jayhawks quiet all game. A large part as to how the Sooners ballooned their lead was having Kansas in foul trouble, early in the second half. The Sooners were in the double bonus with over 10 minutes left in the game.

Sooner forward Brady Manek (35) slams home a dunk against Kansas.

Head coach Lon Kruger’s game plan worked to perfection as Kansas never saw the lead and were tied with the Sooners for less than two minutes.

“It was pretty solid, pretty sharp on both ends of the floor. [We] didn’t give much up in transition… we moved the ball and made shots offensively,” Kruger said postgame.

Oklahoma all but secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a 15-point win over the Jayhawks. The Sooners take a trip to Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday before heading to Kansas City to play in the Big 12 Tournament.

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@BraydenOKCLE

Brayden covers OU Men's Basketball for The Franchise. When he isn't covering Sooner hoops he enjoys watching the Cleveland Indians and Browns. You can find Brayden at a golf course near you, trying to break 70. He is currently pursuing a Sports Journalism degree at Rose State College and will be transferring to The University of Oklahoma next fall.

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