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'We just seemed to be struggling': OU upset by Kansas State, 62-57, behind Sooners' poor shooting in Manhattan

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Umoja Gibson

Junior guard Umoja Gibson during the game against Kansas State on Feb. 23.

For the second game in a row, the Sooners shot under 25 percent from 3-point range and scored 66 points or less. 

Oklahoma (14-6, 9-5 Big 12) lost against an unranked Big 12 team for the first time this season in Kansas State. The Sooners shot 4-for-20 from 3-point range, and shot under 40 percent from the field in a 62-57 loss against the Wildcats (7-18, 3-13) on Tuesday night in Manhattan. 

By defeating OU, Kansas State became the first team since the 1993-94 season to lose to a Division II school and beat a top 10 team in the same season. The Wildcats — 10th in total defense in the conference — held the Sooners to their second-lowest scoring output this season at 57. Oklahoma hasn’t won in Manhattan since 2012, OU coach Lon Kruger’s first year with the team.

The Sooners’ offense other than senior guard Austin Reaves, who’s scored at least 20 points in each of their last three games, faltered during a crucial time. With the Big 12 tournament coming up March 10, OU’s play must improve to keep its top 10 ranking and a projected No. 3 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. 

“We just seemed to be struggling all night,” Kruger, a former Kansas State player and coach, said afterward. “(There were) a few shots that didn’t go. And we gotta stay with it though, you got to make an extra pass, perhaps. I thought we got in the paint several times and forced up a tough shot, as opposed to getting in the paint and making that one extra pass to get a better shot.”

The Sooners managed to have a six-point lead with under four minutes to go before Kansas State guard Mike McGuirl rattled off three consecutive 3-pointers in just over a minute. Before an 11-0 run from the Wildcats, Reaves had scored 14 of OU’s previous 22 points. He scored 18 of OU’s 28 second half points overall.

Reaves is having perhaps his best three-game stretch of the season, while the offense as a whole is having perhaps its worst. In the first 10 minutes of the second half, OU had scored just 19 points combined in each of its last two games, starting slow out of halftime against the bottom two teams in the Big 12 standings in Kansas State and Iowa State. 

“Certainly, you need to come out of halftime with a better look than we’ve had the last couple,” Kruger said. “(It) hasn’t been a problem on the year, but it cost us at Iowa State and cost us again tonight. We’ve got to come out with a little bit more fire to open the second half.”

Reaves had a chance to tie the game on a 3-point attempt with five seconds left, but missed. After, he pointed at his elbow that appeared to be touched during the shot while addressing the referees, but Reaves wasn’t granted three free-throws on the potential foul. 

Kruger said in a conference like the Big 12 if “you don’t bring it every night … there’s a good chance you lose.” Oklahoma had a chance to avoid the upset, but the offensive struggles were too much to overcome against the Wildcats. 

“(We’ll) take this to get our attention and make us set up and do things better,” Kruger said. “We had too many possessions tonight where we just didn’t do what we needed to do to secure a win on the road.”

Austin Curtright is a journalism junior and one of The Daily's assistant sports editors. He covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, softball and soccer.

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