No. 7 Oklahoma looks for season sweep at Kansas State
No. 7 Oklahoma looks to continue its rise in the rankings and the Big 12 standings Tuesday night when the Sooners seek their ninth win in 10 games. They take on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
The Sooners handled the Wildcats in their other contest this season, 76-50 in Norman, Okla., on Jan. 19. K-State, though, has won six of the past 10 meetings.
Oklahoma (14-5, 9-4) follows up Tuesday's contest at Kansas State (6-18, 2-13) with a pair of games against Oklahoma State.
The Sooners may have been looking ahead to the back-to-back Bedlam games when facing last-place Iowa State on Saturday. They led the Cyclones by 21 points in the first half but eventually surrendered the lead midway through the second half. OU finally answered with a 16-4 run to control the outcome.
"Good road win," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said after the game. "We'd like to have made it a little cleaner, but Iowa State deserves credit for continuing to fight and hanging in there."
Austin Reaves led the Sooners with 20 points.
"(Reaves) got us off to a really good start," Kruger said. "He did a good job of converting and distributing and getting others involved to open the ballgame. And then when the game was on the line, he went to the line and made free throws. He's had a lot of good ballgames, and we needed another good one out of him."
Reaves leads a quartet of Sooners in double figures with 16.8 points per game. He's joined by De'Vion Harmon (12.4), Brady Manek (10.5) and Umoja Gibson (10.5).
The Wildcats are coming off their first win of this calendar year, a 62-54 victory at TCU on Saturday that snapped a 13-game losing streak.
"I'm just thrilled for our guys," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "Obviously, it's been a long stretch. I begged and pleaded for them not to quit. I know we've made improvement. It hasn't shown in wins and losses. We've become a competitive team. Probably at times earlier we weren't. Some of it is continuity with the same guys in there."
The biggest difference for the Wildcats against TCU was the way they closed out the game. Trailing by five points with about five minutes remaining, the Cats went on a 10-0 run to take the lead and allowed TCU to get no closer than three points the rest of the way.
"I said, 'Guys, we've been here before. This is the time we usually go the wrong way. Let's see if we can make the plays this time,'" Weber said. "They were very, very focused."
K-State is led by its backcourt. Nijel Pack leads the team with 12.3 points per game. Mike McGuirl is the only other player in double figures (11.5).
The Wildcats brought a 74-year streak of winning seasons at home into the 2020-21 season. Now, with one home game remaining, not counting a possible makeup game against Iowa State, they're trying to avoid a winless season at home in conference play.
It won't be easy against the Sooners.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 22, 2021