These kind of games make me mad.
Kansas had the game seemingly well in hand late, a 72-62 lead with 9:26 to play and an 89.4% win probability per ESPN. Oklahoma slowly chipped away at the lead, and then, with Kansas clinging to a two-point lead following the under-4 timeout, the Sooners brought out their secret weapon: Udoka Azubuike.
Oklahoma played hack-a-Doke to perfection, with Azubuike missing six straight free throws between 3:37 and 1:56 to play, giving Kansas three crucial empty possessions late in the game and allowing the Sooners to complete the comeback. After Christian James nailed a three to make it 82-80 Sooners with 1:09 left, Svi couldn’t answer. A Brady Manek three with 27 seconds left iced it for Oklahoma, and OU finished Kansas by an 85-80 count.
For a lot of Kansas fans Bill Self can do no wrong, but I’m not of the belief that he is above criticism. Watching Azubuike struggle at the line during the final minutes of the game was painful. Oklahoma fouled him off the ball all three times. It was clear what their strategy was, and Kansas was too slow to react.
On a night when Devonte Graham did not have his ‘A’ game, at least offensively, this still was a game that Kansas had no business losing. Although Graham was just 4-19 from the floor, including 1-9 from behind the arc, Svi made 6-13 threes, and Newman hit 3-5 from deep.
The Jayhawks “held” Trae Young to 26 points on 7-9 shooting, including 2-3 from deep. Young dished out 9 assists against 5 turnovers.
Kansas didn’t turn it over much. They rebounded decently well. But 6-14 (42.9%) from the free throw line, including 1-7 from Azuibuke, kept the Jayhawks from closing out the Sooners in what would have been a huge road win.
Kansas missed a huge opportunity to all but end the race to 14 straight. Kansas falls to 6-2 in conference play, and is now just one game up in the loss column on a four-way tie of West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and K-State.
Up next, Kansas will host Texas A&M at Allen Fieldhouse in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, January 27, at 3:30 PM CST.