By JOHN SHINN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If Oklahoma does get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, it will enter with an incredibly cold shooting touch from 3-point range. In Thursday’s 73-66 loss to Iowa State, the Sooners were 3 for 18 from 3-point range and missed their last nine attempts.
That means over the last two games — the 70-67 loss at TCU last Saturday and today — OU is now 3 for 34 from beyond the arc and making about 1 out of every 11 1/2 3-pointers they’ve attempted.
This cold spell has come on after OU went 10 for 18 from long distance in the March 6 home finale against West Virginia. That game ended a string where OU made 46 of 100 over the six games leading up to the TCU game.
Steven Pledger went 1 for 6 against the Cyclones and is now 1 for 10 in the last two games. Je’lon Hornbeak went 1 for 3 and has now hit one of his last seven. Buddy Hield went 0 for 2 and has now missed all seven of his 3-point attempts since returning from a broken foot three games ago.
The reason Iowa State was able to overcome a poor shooting performance was its ability to get rebounds. The Cyclones bested OU on the glass by 12 (43-31) and turned their 14 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
“Even when we were up 12 or 13, they were still getting those loose balls and putting them back in baskets or putting a lot of pressure on us,” OU forward Romero Osby said. “And I think that ended up being the deciding factor because they weren’t shooting as well in the first half, but getting those loose balls and those easy buckets kind of got them in the rhythm and started to spark their shooting in the second half.
Free-throw streak ends
After OU tied an NCAA record and set Big 12 Conference and a program record by going 34 for 34 from the free-throw line against Iowa State at Lloyd Noble Center March. The streak against ISU ended in the first half at 43 on a Romero Osby miss. The Sooners finished the day 15 for 18 from the charity stripe.
Iowa State, however, started one. It was 14 for 14 from the free-throw line.
Turnovers aren’t the problem
The Sooners lost Thursday despite matching a season low with five turnovers. Strangely, the Sooners have lost their last two games, but have committed just 13 combined turnovers in those games while handing out eight assists.
Cyclones get rare win in Kansas City
The Cyclones’ victory did more than solidify their NCAA Tournament résumé; they snapped a seven-game Big 12 tournament losing streak. Iowa State’s last conference tournament victory prior to Thursday was over Baylor in 2005. The Cyclones also won at the Sprint Center for the first time.
Another short trip
The Sooners went 0-1 in the Big 12 tournament for the second straight year and fourth time in the last five years. They’ve won the Big 12 tournament three times (2001-03), but have not reached the title game since and have reached the semifinals just once (2008).
The Sooners are now have a 20-14 record in the event.