OU 66, Missouri 61: Thoughts and observations
- I wouldn’t have guessed OU could lose the turnover battle 20-11 and beat Missouri. But, turnovers aren’t any good without scoring off them, like Missouri does to beat teams. Oklahoma actually had more points off turnovers, nine, to Missouri’s seven. That kept them in the game.
“I thought our transition D was pretty good,” said Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel.
Though the 20 turnovers weren’t as costly as they could have been. A lot of those were bad passes in half court sets, lost dribbles, carries, and traveling calls. As long as those turnovers are only costing two points instead of four, Missouri won’t run away. Get them stuck in the half-court like they were for plenty of Saturday’s game, and the Tigers become vulnerable very quickly.
- After a stretch of three or four quick turnovers against Oklahoma State, the crowd noticeably cheered when Capel benched Willie Warren for a few minutes. Capel said the coaching staff didn’t talk with him about it, but was happy with how he’d reacted to it, and shared a nice anecdote about his own college career.
“I got booed at Duke my senior year against Florida State,” said Capel, a former Blue Devil point guard. “And it crushed me that that happened. It turned out to be one of the best things that happened for me. My teammates rallied around me and I ended up having a great second half to my senior season.”
- Capel mentioned that Blake Griffin went through similar problems as a sophomore, but those were overshadowed by the team’s success and he had veterans around him like Austin Johnson and Taylor Griffin to help him get through rough patches.
“Blake also didn’t have the type of body language that Willie has had early,” Capel said. “When you’re looked at as one of the main guys, one of the best guys in the country, the microscope is on you. Expectations are greater. And now Willie’s in a different seat, he’s in a different spot. He’s in the spot Blake was in.”
The body language Capel referenced has been better in the past two wins for Oklahoma. Warren was visibly frustrated when Capel pulled him, but played well late in the game. He’ll need to keep being an active leader and keep his body language positive in a Sooner loss to really impress the fans who cheered when he exited against Oklahoma State.
- Rough game for Tommy Mason-Griffin, who had five turnovers in the first half and finished with seven. He had been playing well for the past 4-5 games, and as a freshman, it’s tough to get a point guard as young as Mason-Griffin to be as efficient as he had been for an entire season.
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