By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
OU lost its first Big 12 game in Manhattan on Saturday, falling 69-60 to #16 Kansas State. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Leading for a majority of the first half, OU looked sharp in a tough road environment. But then Rodney McGruder happened. In a 90-second span late in the first half, K-State’s star shooting guard went on a personal 9-2 scoring run, drilling three consecutive threes and turning a two-point deficit into a five-point lead, one the Wildcats would never relinquish.
It was over when…
…Angel Rodriguez, KSU’s unheralded point guard, dropped in seven clutch points and assisted on another one in the game’s final minutes, providing the necessary separation to close out a pesky Sooner squad. OU kept it close for a majority of the second half, but could never put together enough stops to fuel a big enough push.
Star of the game – Rodney McGruder
In two wins against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State this year, McGruder is a combined 17/31 from the field and 9/18 from deep for 48 points. He’s an underrated shooter who, when he’s on, can take over a game. And he’s done that twice against the state teams this year, including Saturday’s game-high 20 points.
What it means
Not a bad loss for OU, but a missed opportunity. The Sooners had a chance to make a national statement, beating a ranked team on the road and possibly vaulting into the top-25 by Monday afternoon. But they didn’t and they won’t. Big picture wise, it doesn’t hinder their tournament hopes much, but it would have been a great resume builder.
With OU’s loss, KU and K-State now stand as the only remaining undefeated teams in Big 12 play. And they’ll matchup on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Sooners (at 3-1) are tied in third with Iowa State and Baylor.
Big Monday in Norman against the floundering Texas Longhorns. UT fell to Kansas Saturday afternoon and is now 8-9 overall and 0-4 in Big 12 play. Game is at 8:30 on ESPN.