NORMAN — Oklahoma had the best player on the floor Wednesday night against Kansas. The problem it couldn’t overcome was that the 18th-ranked Jayhawks had the next best three.
OU’s Cameron Clark matched a career high with 32 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Sooners (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) in a 90-83 loss to the Jayhawks.
In many ways the game played out like it did the last time OU played a Final Four caliber team. Back in November, Clark set the career high against No. 5 Michigan State. The Sooners lost that game by nine because they couldn’t defend or keep the Spartans off the glass.
Kansas (10-4, 1-0) shot 55 percent (29 for 53) from the field and outrebounded the Sooners by 14.
“It’s very frustrating,” Clark said. “We’ve got to get back to the drawing board because it all starts on defense. Defense wins games. We have to figure out what it is and get better.”
Kansas was in an offensive slump when it arrived at Lloyd Noble Center. It was coming off a rare home loss to No. 21 San Diego State on Sunday. The Jayhawks only shot 29.8 percent in that game and freshman guard Wayne Selden only scored six points.
After eight minutes against the Sooners, Seldon had 13 points and Kansas was shooting nearly 70 percent from the field.
“It was just the confidence that my teammates and my coaches have in me. Just being out there playing and not thinking,” Seldon said after scoring 24 points, which was nine more than his career high.
OU knew it was going uphill in many different ways. Kansas has two projected NBA lottery picks with freshman guard Andrew Wiggins and center Joel Embiid. They were not much of a factor. Wiggins had nine points and Embiid finished with six.
But Kansas’ depth caused problems all night. Its size presented a matchup problem. The Sooners’ nightmare scenario came to fruition early when the fouls started piling up against the Sooners. By halftime, Clark and forward Ryan Spangler had both picked up two fouls. Spangler only played 23 minutes. Clark did his damage despite only playing 29.