ORLANDO, Fla. — Bad passes, deflected passes, missed baskets, 14 turnovers and 18 personal fouls contributed to Oklahoma struggling against Gonzaga on Friday in the Old Spice Classic men's basketball tournament. The Sooners dropped their first game of the season by double digits, 72-47, and will now play West Virginia for third place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
The game never created a rhythm. At the start, three minutes ticked off the game clock before five points were scored.
Then there were stretches like midway through the first half, when Oklahoma had a turnover, Gonzaga had a turnover and the Sooners missed a jumper. The mediocrity didn't end there. Gonzaga then missed a 3-point shot. Oklahoma failed to rebound. Gonzaga missed a 2-point shot. Then the two teams combined for a missed jumper, two foul shots, a missed 3-point shot. A minute and a half later, Gonzaga finally made a free throw.
The youth and inexperience of OU resulted in rushed shots and missed open baskets. Even senior Steven Pledger had a difficult night, going 1-for-5 from beyond the arc, missing some wide open 3-pointers.
The difference between the Sooners and Bulldogs showed in moments of pressure, when Gonzaga players such as Elias Harris had little room to attempt a shot — but still found a way to get the shot off and make a basket. Despite being contained by the Sooners in the first half, Harris wound up with a game-high 18 points.
Harris created ways to get to the rim. Three minutes into the second half, Gonzaga put up a 3-point shot that missed. Gonzaga's forward saw that no OU players were pushing into the lane for the rebound, so he followed the miss and pulled it down for a dunk that lifted fans to their feet.
There were stretches of mess for Oklahoma. The Bulldogs started the second half on an 18-6 run. OU freshman Buddy Hield, who has proved an electric spark from the bench, was little help. He had five points, three turnovers and was 1-for-3 from 3-point range.