BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Oklahoma Sooners tried, but they could not make lightning strike twice at the Barclays Center.
Though OU fought valiantly, the No. 1-ranked Michigan State Spartans proved to be too much, and the Sooners fell 87-76 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic final on Saturday night.
“I'm proud of our guys,” said Sooners coach Lon Kruger. “Michigan State is the type of ballclub that can do that to you. If they get you going sideways a little bit, it's kinda hard to getting running back in the right direction.”
An 11-3 run helped Oklahoma (4-1) get out to an early 22-11 lead in the first half. Cameron Clark was the go-to guy for the Sooners during that stretch, scoring 14 of those points.
The final nine minutes of the half were dominated by the Spartans (6-0). They controlled the boards and tightened up on defense, going on a 26-5 run to the close out the half with a 45-31 lead. Denzel Valentine guided the offensive attack with five assists in the half.
“We stopped moving the ball like we need to,” Kruger said. “I thought their defense took control of it there for that last few minutes of the first half. We've got to be able to overcome that, move the ball better and make better plays for each other.”