Kansas City, MO — The Oklahoma Sooners played really good basketball for 31 minutes against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament Thursday in Kansas City. But college games are 40 minutes long. The Sooners, who had as much as a 14 point first-half lead, blew a 13-point lead in the final 9-1/2 minutes and were eliminated from the event as the Cyclones won 73-66. OU started out with a 6-0 lead and Iowa State didn’t score a point in the game’s first four minutes.
The Sooners were controlling things and had a 37-29 lead at the break. The Cyclones were far more urgent in the final half, but Cameron Clark’s 3-point play put OU in front 56-43 with 9:38 remaining…and Iowa State stormed back. The visitors from Ames, IA went on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 60-60 and took their first lead of the entire game on a Will Clyburn 3-point play for a 63-62 edge with 3:19 to play.
But the crowd advantage was HUGE in Kansas City, as it always is for Iowa State, and with every made shot and every loud ovation, the Cyclones blew away the Sooners from that point. Overall, OU went the final 8:10 of the game without a single basket – only free throws – while Iowa State outscored the Sooners 25-6 in the last 7-1/2 minutes for the school’s first win in a Big 12 tournament game since 2005.
Iowa State was led by forward Melvin Ejim with 23 points while Clyburn scored 15 of his 17 in the second half. The Cyclones had four players in double figures while all-Big 12 star Romero Osby led Oklahoma with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Cam Clark came off the bench for his 17 points, but OU only shot 29% from the field in the final half.
Now, it’s “nervous time” for the Sooners. At 20-11 on the season, most all media members here in Kansas City expect OU to be invited to the NCAA tournament when the 68-team field is announced Sunday. However, the team can’t do anything but wait…until the “Selection Show” and hope to make the school’s first appearance in the “Big Dance” in 4 years.
OU players Steven Pledger, Sam Grooms, Osby and head coach Lon Kruger talk about the disappointing loss and whether the Sooners will make it into the NCAA tourney while Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg talks about his team’s win, setting up a 3rd game this season with Kansas, in the Big 12 tourney semifinals.