It was déjà vu all over again for Oklahoma on Saturday. Different location, but pretty much everything about the Sooners' game against Kansas State was the same from the Wildcat's upset of the Sooners in Norman back in January.
Saturday night, Marcus Foster played the role of hero once again, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to give Kansas State a season sweep of the Sooners with a 59-56 win.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Sooners, and probably dashed any last remaining hope of Oklahoma catching Kanas in the Big 12 standings. Kansas State stopped a five-game losing streak with the win.
The game was ugly, as many a game against the Wildcats normally is, but this one was particularly hard on the eyes. Neither team shot 38 percent from the field, and Kansas State managed to win the game despite shooting an unbelievable 26.5 percent and making just 13 shots. The difference came at the free throw line, where Kansas State was 28-of-36 and the Sooners were just 13-of-17.
To be clear, the Sooners did not lose to Kansas State because of the putrid officiating. And yes, the officiating was that bad. Oklahoma lost because it never took control against an inferior team. Oklahoma lost because it was 3-of-17 from 3-point range and didn't attack the rim with the same tenacity the Wildcats did. Oklahoma lost because it gave up 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 15 second-chance points, including the game-winning 3-pointer.
However, officiating did play a big role on Saturday. The Sooners lost by three points. With 9:26 remaining, Justin Edwards hit a 3-pointer for Kansas State to put the Wildcats up, 46-41. The only problem was replays clearly showed the shot was released after the shot clock expired. Unfortunately for the Sooners, that play is not reviewable until under four minutes in college basketball. Essentially, the Wildcats got three free points, which just so happened to be the margin of victory.
The foul issues that plagued the Sooners also cost them Ryan Spangler. Spangler picked up two fouls in the first half and two quick fouls in the second half. He returned with 8:42 left and then fouled out 25 seconds later. Spangler played just 23 minutes, scoring six points and grabbing seven rebounds. It snapped a streak of nine straight double-figure scoring outings for the junior.
Buddy Hield led the Sooners with 14 points. Jordan Woodard had 13 points and TaShawn Thomas had 10.
Marcus Foster, who was returning from a three-game suspension, had 14 points off the bench to lead Kanas State. Nino Williams had 13 points and Edwards and Wesley Iwundu each had nine points.
The Sooners led throughout the first half, going up 11-6 at the first TV timeout, but KSU free throws and a stagnant OU attack allowed the Wildcats to hang in the game. OU led, 28-27 at halftime.
OU opened the second half on a 7-2 run, capped by a layup and free throw from Thomas. But once again, the Sooners got away from pounding the ball inside and the offense fell flat. This time, Kansas State took more advantage, running off a 21-8 tally over the next 10 minutes to take a 50-43 lead with 8:17 to play.
Oklahoma battled back, using defense to limit the Wildcats while finding just enough offense to knot the score at 56 with 1:31 on two Woodard free throws.
After a big win at home over Iowa State Monday night, the Sooners were looking to continue building momentum and make a run at the top of the Big 12 standings. That hope is all but gone now, but there is still a lot of critical basketball to be played. The Sooners' home loss to Kansas State on Jan. 10 led to a four losses in five games stretch for OU. Oklahoma can't afford that this time around.