Sweating on Selection Sunday isn't a very fun thing to do, and three weeks ago, the Oklahoma Sooners weren't going to be sweating at all. Now, after a 73-66 loss in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals to Iowa State, the Sooners will most definitely be sweating Sunday evening when the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed.
The loss, the Sooners' third in the past five games, was another second-half collapse. This time, the Sooners held a 12-point lead with 7:42 remaining, but didn't make a single field goal after Cameron Clark's jumper with 8:10 remaining in the game.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones, ice-cold from 3-point range in the first half, hit four deep shots in the last eight minutes, including a deep bomb from Chris Babb with 36 seconds remaining to put the Sooners away.
Melvin Ejim led the Cyclones with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Will Clyburn chipped in 17 points. Georges Niang and Babb each contributed 10 points.
Romero Osby led the Sooners with 18 points and Clark added 17 points off the bench. After a solid first half from the field, OU shot just 28.6 percent in the second half to finish the game at 38.1 percent.
The Sooners hit just 3-of-18 from 3-point range after missing all 16 attempts against TCU in Fort Worth last Saturday.
Oklahoma controlled the first half, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead and going up by as many as 14 points in the first half. Osby controlled the paint for the Sooners, scoring 12 of his points in the first half as Iowa State had no answer for the senior forward.
The Sooners were also able to respond every time the Cyclones attempted to make a run. A layup by Tyrus McGee made the score 26-18 in favor of OU, but a quick 6-0 burst by the Sooners pushed the lead to 32-18 just two minutes later.
The Cyclones were ice-cold from 3-point range, missing their first 10 attempts in the first half before Babb knocked one down with 1:57 remaining in the first half. ISU finished the half 1-for-12 from deep.
Early in the second half, OU continued to assert its will on the Cyclones, maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the first 12 minutes. However, when Clark knocked in two free throws, OU had a 12-point lead with 7:42 remaining. From there, it was all Iowa State as the Cyclones went on a quick 12-0 run, tying the score on a 3-pointer from Clyburn.
OU retook the lead on more free throws from Clark, but an and-one from Clyburn gave Iowa State its first lead of the game, 63-62, with 3:19 remaining. Oklahoma tried to get something to work offensively, but just couldn't get shots to fall. After Sam Grooms knocked in two free throws, Babb's deep 3 ended any chance of an OU comeback.
It's still likely the Sooners will make the tournament on Sunday, but it won't be a very comfortable wait, and if the Sooners make it, the reaction will probably will be one of relief rather than joy.