OU’s meltdown Wednesday night in Austin — losing in overtime after taking a 22-point lead with 7:54 left in regulation — might not have been the most monumental collapse in Sooner basketball history. Certainly ranks high. But a better OU team than this one, playing for bigger stakes, at home no less, once blew a lead seemingly as insurmountable. And Lonnie Kruger was in the house.
Twenty-six years to the day earlier — Feb. 27, 1987 — 12th-ranked OU lost to Kruger’s Kansas State Wildcats 90-89. The Sooners led by nine with 1:16 left in the game.
Going into the 1987 regular-season finale, the Sooners had lost only one home game in four years. And OU still had a chance at a Big Eight championship, but the loss relegated OU to the third seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.
“It’s a very, very disappointing loss,” OU coach Billy Tubbs said. “It was an unusual game.”
Mitch Richmond’s 18-foot swish with two seconds left gave the Wildcats the lead. He took a feed from point guard Steve Henson — also in the building in Austin, as Kruger’s chief lieutenant — and beat OU defensive specialist Dave Sieger to the wing. Tim McCalister, one of five OU seniors playing their final home game, missed a desperation 35-footer just before the buzzer.
In the final minute, OU’s Chuck Watson, McCalister and Harvey Grant all missed foul shots. KSU cut the deficit on a 3-point shot by Henson and a 3-point play by Norris Coleman. With 38 seconds left, OU still led 89-86, and McCalister was at the line. He scored 35 points that night to move into the No. 3 spot all-time in Big Eight scoring. But McCalister missed the front end of the one-and-one foul shot, and Richmond’s follow shot drew the Wildcats within one point with 15 seconds left.
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