Ames, IA- The sequence just before halftime summed up the night for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Already down 14 points, the Sooners held out for the last shot of the half. With time winding down, Oklahoma guard Jamal Bieniemy drove into the lane and attempted to kick the ball out to Austin Reaves.
The pass did not reach its’ destination, and instead Iowa State Cyclone standout Tyrese Haliburton plucked the ball out of the air and pushed the pace. Just steps inside the Cyclone half of the floor, Haliburton pulled up and drained the deep three as time expired.
Out of the half, the Cyclones did not let up, dealing Oklahoma their first Big 12 Conference loss 81-68.
Here are a few takeaways from Oklahoma’s ninth straight loss in Hilton Coliseum:
Though it may not be apparent looking back on the game, Oklahoma’s offense actually started the game in a good rhythm, building on their last outing against the Texas Longhorns.
Iowa State completely changed the flow of the game halfway through the first half when they switched to a zone defense. The adjustment paid immediate dividends, as the Cyclones forced three straight turnovers and regained the lead on a 10-0 run.
The Cyclones never looked back, as they remained in the zone for a majority of the game. Oklahoma was never able to regain their composure on the offensive end of the floor, and struggled to close the deficit.
Oklahoma’s best stretch was a 15-2 run in the second half, ironically spurred by a defensive switch to a zone of their own, but it was too little too late for the Sooners as the run only cut the Cyclone lead to 13 points.
Turnovers killed Oklahoma
Iowa State’s defense forced the Sooners to commit 15 turnovers, proving to be the difference in the game.
Most of the season, Oklahoma had done a great job of taking care of the basketball, but the Cyclones often put themselves in position to deflect passes and force the Sooners into frantic passes deep into the shot clock.
The Cyclones excelled at cashing in on the Oklahoma mistakes, posting an immense 32 points off of turnovers. Many of those buckets came with ease on the fast break, as Iowa State was able to kick start their offense with the stellar defensive performance.
Concerns in the paint
George Conditt was rewarded with his first start as a Cyclone at center, and he took advantage of his opportunity.
Only scoring eight points, Conditt was a force on the defensive end of the floor. Conditt also forced Oklahoma defenders to think twice about rotating to help when Iowa State guards began to drive the lane, a concerning trend considering the Sooners next opponents.
Oklahoma was outscored 36-22 in the paint, and with a Kansas Jayhawks team coming to town fresh off a home drumming at the hands of the Baylor Bears, the Sooners will have to be weary of Udoka Azubiuke and the threat he brings down low.
A total team effort defensively will be necessary to quiet the Kansas offense, and it will start with Oklahoma’s ability to keep the standout Jayhawk center at bay.