The Oklahoma Sooners inexperience showed up when they lost to the Texas A&M Aggies in a tough Big 12 road game on Jan. 21. The Aggies took the win thanks to some clutch 3-point shooting and a hot crowd behind the Aggies.
The game was much closer than the 81-75 score might make you believe. Oklahoma led for long stretches in the game but the Aggies always came back to make the game close. Texas A&M scored with 40 seconds left in the first half and played strong defense to finish the first half with a 34-34 tie.
The second half was almost the exact same with Elston Turner hitting a three with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 65 and then Texas A&M relied on strong defense to send the game into overtime.
Overtime is where the Sooners finally fell. It was a discouraging game for Sooners' fans to watch, with Oklahoma blowing the lead at the end of each half and then falling apart in overtime. There is so much talent on this team, such as Steven Pledger, Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby, but couldn't pull this one out.
However, Pledger, Osby and Sam Grooms missed the Sooners' first three shots of overtime before Fitzgerald hit a layup. Oklahoma tried to keep it close and the score was 73-71 with 1:34 left in overtime. Then Fitzgerald, Cameron Clark and Steven Pledger all fouled helping Texas A&M make seven of eight free throws to take a nine point lead. Turner, the same player who tied the game up at the end of regulation, made another three and four of the free throws in the second half.
The fact that the game went from a two-point contest to a nine-point game in only 1:09 was a killer for the Sooners.
I can only explain this as inexperience and sloppy play at the end for Oklahoma. The Sooners are now 2-4 in Big 12 play and the loss keeps Oklahoma in the bottom half of the Big 12. The Sooners now finishes the month with a home game against the Baylor Bears and a rematch on the road with the Kansas State Wildcats, who Oklahoma beat already earlier in the month.
The Sooners will be lucky to take one of those two games but need to if they want to keep their name in the hat as the Big 12 season rolls on.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000), where he covered the Sooners basketball games from 1996 through 2001 as a student journalist.