Horror flick: OU-Syracuse ’03
OU plays Syracuse on Friday night, which means another Sooner matchup against the Orange’s 2-3 zone. Send the women and children below deck.
The last time OU played Syracuse, for a berth in the 2003 Final Four, the Sooners had perhaps their worst offensive performance in the Kelvin Sampson era, which is saying something.
It’s easy to blame that loss on Syracuse getting to play in Albany, N.Y., which is 145 miles of the Syracuse campus. But the crowd, while cheering wildly for the Orange, had little to do with that game. OU had no clue against the Syracuse zone.
Six years later, the numbers remain horrific. OU made 5 of 28 shots from 3-point range. The Sooners committed 19 turnovers in the first 32 minutes, then finally settled down and committed no more, but the game was long since over. OU was outrebounded 40-28.
With 8:57 left in the first half, OU led 17-16. Over the next 13 minutes, the Sooners made one of 18 shots and committed 10 turnovers.
The Sooners’ method of offense was to stand around the perimeter passing the ball to each other. There was no aggression. There was no penetration. There was no attacking the Syracuse zone.
On a team that included senior veterans Hollis Price, Quannas White and Ebi Ere, plus freshman standout Kevin Bookout, the best Sooners that day were De’Angelo Alexander and Jabahri Brown. Alexander had 14 points and made five of nine shots. Brown had nine points and seven rebounds.
Price was 3-of-17 from the field, 2-of-11 from 3-point range. White was 1-of-8, 0-of-4. Ere was 2-of-8, 0-of-4. That’s a senior backcourt, three men strong, that combined to go 6-of-33, including 2-of-19 from 3-point range.
That Syracuse team, led by Carmelo Anthony, went on to win the NCAA title. Against OU, Anthony had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Hakim Warrick had 13 points and nine rebounds. But the star of the game was Syracuse’s zone.
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