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It was a heartbreak today! These are the kind of games that frustrate me the most. The ones where you're SO CLOSE yet SO FAR away!

Overall, ISU did a lot of the things they needed to do to stay in the game:

  • We found more scoring
    • OU wasn't respecting DG's game at all. The lane was open everytime. We did some ISOs for DG and he just drove and finished with very little resistanace. DG put up 17
    • Vanderbeken scored 12 off the bench, including a big 2 and a big 3 (more on that later)
    • Lucca put up 9 points as well
  • We controlled the pace of the game (most of the time)
    • When you don't turn the ball over, it allows you to control the game
    • We also played good D. Griffin was double and triple teamed and scored a lot of his points travelling. Also Willie Warren scored a lot of points, but several of those were impossible looking, 30-foot type 3s.

So what happened then:

1st Half:

We came out strong, working Hamilton and Brackins and playing some pretty good defense. We got some blocks and denied Griffin early. It took a little bit to get in a groove offensivley. OU built up a 24-13 lead, mainly led by Willie Warren. I think he had like 8 or 10 of those 19...

Then, ISU made some adjustments. DG started driving and attacking the rim more. He got several easy layups. From there, Brackins opened up, and our perimeter players were open as well. DG even hit a big 3! From playing good defense and DG opening up the floor, we got within 2 (27-29).

It was back and forth for a while, and we were down 31-33 with about 20 second left or so. We went down the court and Vanderbeken hit a big 2 at the buzzer to tie at 33-33!

Basically, Garrett was more free. He was able to create for other players as he was able to score inside. From there, Brackins, Petey, and Lucca were able to do their thing. Defensivley we did a good job on Griffin as he only had 7 points. Warren had a nice dunk on Hamilton and a good drive, but most of his points were on long range 3s in which we got more unlucky as we honestly did play good defense.

Griffin was pretty frustrated at the half. He didn't really know how to handle the pressure, and never felt comfortable. Unfortunatley, he happened to travel as he'd take steps after dribbling in the double team, but of course the refs never called it...

2nd half:

At this point, I was thinking "OK, we're tied but NOW OU is going to break away with it". As a Cyclone fan we've become accustomed to seeing this.

I was wrong though. Most of the second half was see-saw. There were 7 lead changes. In short, Griffin got more into it. He started to score. It was really more of the same in the 2nd half for ISU until we got down to the final 4 or 5 minutes in the game.

At this point, we were UP 66-65 off of a Lucca 3 pointer. Griffin and Warren got a couple of easy baskets (a dunk and layup). They came off of rotations where a guy was open because we were double-teaming a different guy. OU went up 69-66.

From there ISU went cold. Brackins missed inside. Lucca missed some threes. Garret missed two free throws that would have put us within 1. We go down and play awesome D. Warren misses a tough looking layup. At this point, it's still 69-66 with about 3 minutes left!

This was our chance! This was going to be THE GAME that we got that signature win! ISU was going to do this!

At least I wanted to believe this. At the same time, I've gotten so used to us melting down during crunch time.  Anyhow, we go down the floor and Hamilton misses a layup that Griffin just rejects!

OU goes down and hits a 3 that ends up being the dagger. They go up 72-66 with about 2 minutes left or so.

It ended up being too much. Griffin and Warren executed and we missed some more 2s and and 3s. Just throwing up shots with no regard for the shot-clock. We then got into the fouling game, and lost 68-78 from OU hitting free throws and us missing shots.

Final Thoughts:

  • It was good to see a balanced-scoring attack from ISU. It was nice to see Garrett attack the basket.
  • I was happy with the way ISU played D and how we forced some ugly shots for Warren and Griffin.
  • Hamilton needs to learn to finish strong. He missed a key opportunity and I believe there was another one where he just wanted to lay it in and missed.
  • We do well, when we shoot about 40% from 3. We stayed in the game because we were in the 40-50% range. We ended up losing based on the fact the 3s weren't falling. We ended up shooting 8-23 or 34% from 3
  • You just aren't going to win when the other team is shooting better, rebounding more, and their star player gets the benefit of the doubt with all calls. ISU needed to continue to find new ways to score, and to grab some boards. OU got plenty of 2nd chances down the stretch that really hurt us.
  • Lastley, you will hear people complain about the refs. I agree, but this happens with all star players in all levels of competition. It sucks, but it's part of the game. The  refs didn't have us go 6 of 13 from the free throw line.. If we hit a few more free throws, we end up winning or just losing by a couple. .

It could've been worse, but it could've been better. I give Garrett player of the game as he put up 17 points, 2 rebounds, 10 assists, and only 2 TOs.

ISU controlled the pace of the game for 90% of the time, but ultimatley we just aren't a high enough scoring team to go blow-for-blow with an offensive team like Oklahoma. The main difference is Oklahoma executed down the stretch when they needed to. They went to Warren and Griffin, and went to the basics. When we're up or trying to close out, we tend to do silly things, or things that didn't get us to the spot we were in..

Tough loss...