NORMAN — Kansas' freshman phenom, Andrew Wiggins, didn't particularly hurt Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
Big man Joel Embiid, like Wiggins talked about as a possible top overall pick in this summer's NBA Draft, didn't have a big impact either.
But Oklahoma's defensive struggles continued as Wayne Selden Jr. had a career night, and Naadir Tharpe helped the Jayhawks close it out to down the Sooners 90-83 in front of an estimated 10,779 at Lloyd Noble Center.
The Sooners were in the game until the final minute, closing the gap to four points with less than 40 seconds left.
But the Jayhawks had a pair of defensive rebounds and got a block from Wiggins to win their Big 12 opener.
Kansas outscored the Sooners 34-16 in the paint and outrebounded OU 36-22.
“We focused on their size inside, and I think that took away from some activity that we hoped to have on the perimeter that we didn't have,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We didn't guard the ball very well.
“Not pleased with what we did defensively.”
Oklahoma (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) will host undefeated Iowa State at 11 a.m. Saturday.
With the Cyclones looming and then games at Baylor and Kansas State, two more top teams in the Big 12, the Sooners have to improve defensively soon to keep up the momentum built up during the season's first two months.
“We played in spurts,” senior forward Cameron Clark said. “We can't play in spurts. We have been talking about that all year. That is kind of our identity right now and we have got to change that. We were knocking down shots but we couldn't get stops or rebounds.”
Even though Clark got into foul trouble and had to sit out for stretches in both halves, he had another career game. Clark matched a career high with 32 points, shooting 10 of 18 from the floor and hitting 12 free throws.
Clark scored 14 points in the final 10 minutes, hitting four consecutive field goals before missing a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left that could've cut the Kansas lead to three.
Just after that, Buddy Hield fouled out and the Jayhawks put the game away on the line and defensively.
“It's very frustrating,” Clark said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board. It all starts on defense. Defense wins games. We just have to come together as a group and figure out what it is we are not doing and get better at it.”
Selden, who hadn't scored more than 15 in any game this season, hit five 3-pointers and led Kansas with 24 points.
Forward Perry Ellis had 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Tharpe scored 11 in the last six minutes to finish with 17.
The Sooners were ahead late in the first half before Kansas closed with an 11-1 stretch over the final 2:19 to take a six-point lead into the break.
“It was a momentum swing as much as anything,” Kruger said. “Obviously the deficit and a chance to finish the half up and we ended up six down so that was a big swing right there.”