Oklahoma held a slim lead at halftime, but the No. 15 Kansas Jayhawks proved to be too much, dropping the Sooners 72-61 Saturday to officially open Big 12 play with back-to-back losses.
The Sooners scored first and jumped out to a 10-5 lead thanks to a 3-pointer by Steven Pledger just five minutes into the game. However, a 13-3 run from the Jayhawks – including seven from Travis Releford – just three minutes later.
Kansas would hold the slim lead until the 5:30 mark in the first quarter, until back-to-back jumpers from Romero Osby and a dunk from Cameron Clarke gave OU a 30-27 with 3:23 left to play in the first half.
The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half, and the Sooners went into the locker room at halftime with a 34-33 lead. Kansas was dominant in the paint in the open half, outscoring OU 22-6 down low, which would continue in the second half.
KU came out of the gate hot, scoring the first seven points of the half – six coming in the painted area – to take a 40-34 advantage just two minutes into the second half. That started a 23-4 run that spanned the first eight minutes of the half, putting Kansas on top 56-38.
Just four minutes later, Elijah Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to put the Jayhawks out in front by 22 points, the largest lead of the day, and they cruised to a victory from there.
Releford finished with a game-high 28 points, nine from behind the arc and seven from the charity stripe, with Thomas Robinson adding 18 points and nine boards, the only two Kansas players to score in double figures.
Pledger led the charge for Oklahoma, scoring 14 points, but shooting just 4-of-12 from the floor. Carl Blair and Andrew Fitzgerald both contributed 11 points, with Fitzgerald chipping in seven boards.
The Sooners will take just a few days off before heading to Stillwater to play the first of two Bedlam matchups at 7 p.m. Monday.