OU basketball: 3 takeaways from Sooners' 76-61 loss to Baylor
OU’s men’s basketball team’s stretch of four straight games against top-10 ranked teams is nearly over.
And another roadblock got in the way Wednesday night.
No. 2-ranked Baylor dominated the Sooners 76-61 in Waco, Texas, to send OU to a 2-2 Big 12 record.
OU is looking to go .500 in the the four-game stretch Saturday at No. 6 Kansas.
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Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s loss:
Coach Lon Kruger summed up the Sooners’ first 6 minutes of the game.
“Obviously, got off to a horrible start,” Kruger said.
Baylor simply dominated on both ends of the floor in that stretch, seizing control it never fully relinquished.
OU made just one of its first 11 shots, while Baylor made 6 of 12. Before the Sooners knew it, they were down 16-2 and on their way to a dismal offensive first half.
They shot just 21% overall in the half.
“They made a bunch of shots and obviously we weren’t into them enough to make those shots more difficult,” Kruger said. “We didn’t make shots. I think we kinda got checking them out a little bit, a little unsure maybe. I don’t know.
“We’ve played them before and they’re a good team, and we knew that. But we’ve got to open better.”
OU did cut the deficit to five with 5:08 left in the half, but again struggled to remain consistent. Baylor went on a 14-2 run — ignited by Matthew Mayer’s five straight points — to close the half.
“Definitely disappointed by the way we finished the first half,” Kruger said.
The Sooners were much better offensively in the second half, making nearly 56% of their shots.
But Baylor’s defense remained stout, limiting the usually crisp ball movement from a Sooners offense that entered averaging 81.8 points per game.
“They’ve got big, active bodies,” Kruger said. “If you’re not moving the ball, if you’re not cutting sharp, then they can make you stand. That’s what they did to start the ballgame.”
Sooners sharpshooter Umoja Gibson expected a big night on his homecoming.
He scored 29 points in Saturday’s upset of West Virginia, making a career-best eight 3-pointers. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week, Newcomer of the Week and the NCAA.com Player of the Week.
But playing 4 miles from his alma mater University high wasn’t what he hoped.
Gibson scored just five points — all on free shots — while shooting a combined 0 for 7. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
It likely was a mix of nerves, excitement and the Baylor defense.
The 6-foot-1 North Texas transfer had little space. The Bears’ bigger guards hounded him into tough shots.
“Baylor was very much aware of what he did the other night,” Kruger said. “I’m disappointed for Umoja, because he wanted to come here and play well. Obviously, he didn’t have one of his better nights.
“But he’ll bounce back.”
Manek gets going
OU senior Brady Manek finally looked more like himself in the second half.
He entered in an offensive funk, having made 2 of 11 3-pointers in the past three games. He had scored just nine total points in the past two games.
But perhaps he found a way out of the slump, scoring 12 second-half points while making 5 of 7 shots.
“We really need that,” Kruger said. “Obviously, he needs that. I thought he came out in the second half and did things he needed to do much better. Hopefully that’s a good step for him.”
This all happened after Manek’s first half was nearly a disaster.
Just more than 4 minutes into the game, he left with an injury. Manek had a violent collision trying to draw a charge from Mark Vital. Manek was on the court for a bit. After an ESPN commercial break, trainers were tending to Manek’s mouth, which was bleeding, on the sideline.
He returned, but still finished the first half without a point on four shot attempts.