Four Takeaways From Oklahoma Ending Iowa State’s Unbeaten SeasonPosted by Nate Kotisso on January 12th, 2014
Oklahoma came into its game against Iowa State with a bad taste in its mouth. The Sooners led for much of the first half against Kansas on Wednesday, but a late spurt from the Jayhawks just before halftime gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Cyclones came in as one of five teams with an undefeated record and had convincingly taken care of Baylor earlier in the week. Here are four things we learned from Iowa State’s visit to Oklahoma on Saturday.
- Oklahoma Picked Their Poison and Chose Wisely: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed against a team like Iowa State. They can shoot, rebound, run the floor well and don’t turn the ball over much. So the game plan for Lon Kruger was to “surrender” the paint in favor of guarding the perimeter with all their might, and it worked. The Sooners, ranked 234th in Division I in two-point field goal percentage defense, according to KenPom, worked with their small lineup and allowed Melvin Ejim, Georges Niang, DeAndre Kane and Dustin Hogue to get plenty of good shots in the paint, which they made. But ISU misfired on 20-of-26 attempts from three-point land. Will other Big 12 opponents take note of this strategy?
- Oklahoma Looked More Like Iowa State than Iowa State Did: Entering Saturday, Iowa State averaged 40.6 rebounds per game, good for 21st in the nation. But it was Oklahoma’s 41 boards, led by 15 from Ryan Spangler, that boxed out well. Both teams had 28 defensive rebounds but the Sooners edged out the Cyclones on offensive rebounds (13-6). Oklahoma also hit 13 three-pointers while Iowa State struggled against its perimeter defense. It’s almost like both teams switched jerseys before tip-off.
- Hey Buddy: There’s something about Big 12 competition that brings out the best in Buddy Hield. His six threes today were a major lift for the Sooners on his way to 22 points. Through three games in conference play, Hield is averaging 20.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 47.8 percent shooting and 48.1 percent on three-pointers. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Hield takes home Big 12 Player of the Week honors come Monday.
- Losing DeAndre Kane For Extended Time Is No Good For Iowa State: But you knew that already. Kane sprained his left ankle in the closing moments of the game and needed assistance from teammates to get off the floor. He was photographed leaving the arena on crutches. “I should be okay by Monday… It’s hurting really bad,” Kane said after the game. “It’s throbbing. It will probably swell up on the plane ride back home. I want to play [Monday] and will do whatever I can to get back on the court with brothers.” I’d hate to see Kane be out very long after putting up All-American numbers through the first half of the season. I hope his return to the court is swift. College basketball wouldn’t be as fun without him.