LAWRENCE, Kan. — Oklahoma hadn’t won at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse in 20 years when it stepped on the court Monday night. Many of those losses were blowouts. Games the Sooners simply lacked the prowess and poise to stay in for 20 minutes, much less 40.
That wasn’t the case Monday night.
This was a game of runs where the last was from the Jayhawks.
The loss dropped the Sooners to 20-8 overall and 9-6 in the Big 12. For the time being, they’re technically in fifth place in the league — a half game behind Iowa State and Texas.
That was the reward for standing toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks in the loudest arena in the Big 12 — if not the country.
Playing well wasn’t enough.
“They landed a couple of shots and we landed a couple of shots,” OU forward Cameron Clark said. “I think the main thing is we didn’t take care of the ball at critical times.”
The time was the last nine minutes.
OU led by one point with nine minutes left because it had taken phenomenal care of the ball and stood up to all Kansas’ previous salvos.
The first came in the opening minutes, when the Jayhawks seized a 15-4 lead. The second was a 10-2 run to close the first half and left OU down 42-33 at halftime.
Yet, OU answered both.
The 13-4 run to start the second half that tied the game with 16 minutes to go displayed OU’s tenacity. Guard Buddy Hield scored five of his 16 points during that stretch and 13 of the sophomore’s points came in the second half.
“We handled the ball and made tough plays,” OU coach Lon Kruger said, “but there were two or three stretches that showed why KU is so tough. We just gave them those moments of run you have to try to avoid.”