Monday night was a big night in Ames, Iowa. The No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones faced the No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners at home. Despite 17 made 3-pointers by Oklahoma, Iowa State pulls it out with a huge 82-77 win, which is the first time Iowa State knocked off a No. 1 ranked team since 1957 against Wilt Chamberlain and the Kansas Jayhawks.
This game started out pretty evenly, both teams knocking down shots, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins knocking down big time shots for OU. The problem started when they started allowing quality shots for Georges Niang, who ended the game shooting 9-of-19 for 22 points. The major problem for this Sooner team today was Ryan Spangler, who is the leading rebounder on the team. Only scoring 2 points and collecting just 6 rebounds. Note, Spangler averages 11 points and 10 rebounds per game. Where did those rebounds go? Jameel McKay got them all, well 13 of them. 5 of which were offensive. That was the biggest problem for the Sooners Monday night.
Offensively, Oklahoma had their average game, Buddy scored 27 points off 10-of-23 shooting (7-of-14 from three) along with a guy who hasn’t been playing well as of late, Cousins, went back to his normal form tonight netting 26 points off 10-of-15 shooting (4-of-5 from three). Jordan Woodard had an unusually sub-par game today, only scoring 5 points, but still had 5 assists which is acceptable.
Defense has to be better for the Sooners allowing not only 82 points, but 3 players with 20 or more points? This is college basketball, not the NBA. OU shouldn’t allow that many points. That’s why this game is really shocking somewhat, because they are usually pretty good at holding teams to low scoring and or a bad shooting percentage due to defensive intensity.
Also, if Oklahoma had won this game it would have been a miracle, statistically speaking they didn’t have a clear advantage over the Cyclones. They only shot 4-of-7 from the free throw line… Three trips to the line for the entire game won’t cut it, especially considering Iowa State shot 14-of-17 from the line. That’s a 10 point difference right there. Remember, they lost by 5.
What needs to change?
Even with OU being the No. 1 team in the country, there’s always room for improvement. There aren’t many holes in their game, but one definitely is physicality. Them shooting only seven free throws is an obvious testimony to that. They are a 3-point shooting team, but that also can cripple them because they settle for those shots, when there may be an open option in the paint. Even though Spangler is just 6’8 (in stilettos), he’s a crafty body down low who can create baskets for other players, or get to the free throw line. Same thing goes for sophomore forward Khadeem Lattin who averages about 7 points and 6 rebounds per game, but only shot one time the entire game and finished wth 0 points. This guy is 6’9, he has to improve his aggressiveness in the paint.
The Oklahoma Sooners with all that being said, will hopefully bounce back Saturday against the No. 13 Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas in an early 11 a.m. matchup. Look for this game to be yet another close game. The Big 12 Conference is dangerous this year, with five teams in the top 20.
Feature photo: Reese Strickland/ USA Today Sports.