A wise man once said: “You can't have a great comeback unless you get really far behind.”
The Sooners proved that theory to be true on Monday night at No. 11 Kansas, but came up just short in an 85-78 loss.
Coming off of a loss to Iowa State, Kansas came out hot and played its best half of the season. KU exploded on a 17-0 run and took a commanding 33-13 lead with 9:48 to play in the first half. The Jayhawks drained their first eight 3-pointers and looked downright unbeatable for the first 20 minutes. Fortunately for the Sooners, they had an additional 20 minutes for things to turn around.
And boy did they.
Oklahoma opened the second on a 21-3 run and before the halftime Phog could clear, the Sooners found themselves down just one at 54-53. But they weren't done there. Back to back buckets from Ryan Spangler put OU up 63-60 with 8:26 left and Allen Fieldhouse was dead silent.
OU held the lead until Kansas' Cliff Alexander drained a pair of free throws with to tie it with 4:07 to play. Just seconds later, TaShawn Thomas answered with a pair of his own to put OU up 71-69, but it was all downhill from there.
The Jayhawks closed the game on a 16-7 run, aided by OU's woeful shooting. The Sooners knocked down just one field goal in the last four minutes of the game.
It was a valiant comeback from the 19th-ranked Sooners. Buddy Hield struggled a bit with his shot but still poured in 26 points and grabbed five boards. Hield shot 7-of-19 from the floor and 4-of-13 from downtown. Isaiah Cousins added 18 points and six boards and shot 3-of-8 from deep. Ryan Spangler played a strong game inside with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Thomas particularly struggled with Kansas' swarming defense. The OU big man finished with just four points on 1-of-7 shooting and only four rebounds. He also committed six turnovers.
The Sooners only got seven points off the bench to Kansas' 31.
KU played just eight men but five finished in double figures. Kelly Oubre Jr. played a strong first half and led the Jayhawks with 19 points. Perry Ellis scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds while the freshman Alexander posted 13 points and 13 boards off the bench.
OU (12-6, 3-3) is back in action on Saturday at No. 21 Baylor. Kansas plays at No. 17 Texas on Saturday.