January 14, 2008

Sooners fight for each minute in Lawrence

Pre-Game: This game is one that I can't see the Sooners winning but after a loss at home over the weekend this could be the type of win to catapult the Sooners into the national spotlight. The key for Oklahoma will be how they can control Kansas' penetration from the perimeter. Oklahoma has the depth and ability to match-up inside but if Kansas is getting the ball inside and having the ability to kick to shooters on the wing and dump the ball to their post players the Sooners may get burned badly inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Tipoff: (8:05 p.m. CST) Kansas wins the tip and grabs the already lively fanbase with a huge Darnell Jackson dunk.

A really nice response by Blake Griffin and Longar Longar again shows how much he has developed physically battling with a big group of Jayhawks on the board.

18: 37 Mario Chalmers drives into the lane and kicks to Brandon Rush who drills a three from the right wing, this is exactly the scenario that can not happen if the Sooners hope to pull this massive upset.

16:35 Oklahoma gets their first basket after Longar fights on the board to get a well-earned basket. 9-2 Kansas

TV Timeout (15:53) Wow, this game just couldn't have started off more poorly for Oklahoma, the ball-handling has been bad and the Sooner defense looks out of sync. However, if that was Kansas' opening shot, 11-2 isn't as bad as it could have been.

15:04 Blake Griffin goes down with an apparent knee problem, if he can't go, Oklahoma might as well take a mercy rule and head out.

13:54 Now we see Griffin heading off, this is all kinds of bad for an Oklahoma team with the deck already stacked against them.

13:35 The Sooners are in a lot of trouble, Kansas looks to be really on their game and the Sooners are just in way too much of a hurry at the moment. Brandon Rush buries a three, 14-2 Kansas.

13:06 In a direct deviation from years past Longar looks to be the only one not scared and is mixing it up beautifully on the board to double his, and the team's, total points. 14-4 Kansas

TV Timeout (11:32) Wow, it's starting to look like I may be the only one in the state of Oklahoma watching the second half of this game if this keeps up. Oklahoma is just in way too big of a hurry, isn't setting up their shots and looks foot-heavy on the defensive end of the floor. 18-4, Kansas

10:40 The Sooners string a few really nice passes together and get David Godbold set up for a three. 20-9, Kansas.

9:28 The Sooners work hard on defense and get themselves a three pointer on another good look from Austin Johnson who finds Godbold on the wing, and again he hits it. 23-14, Kansas.

8:55 Holly Rowe just reported from the sideline that it doesn't look like an ACL according to Alex Brown, Oklahoma's head trainer. It looks like a sprain. As she is reporting Griffin walks back in and is in his warm-ups, it's pretty clear his night is over.

TV Timeout (7:40) Oklahoma showed a 10-3 spurt there and may be able to do something but really it's about respect at this point. I don't see any way a win is possible without their superstar but this team will show everyone a lot about itself in the next 27 minutes of play.

7:00 Longar Longar makes a great move spinning to the baseline to avoid a double down from Darrell Arthur. He makes the lay-up and is fouled, but misses the chance for a three-point play. 25-16, Kansas

OU Timeout (3:15) Jeff Capel takes a timeout and I can't blame him but what can you do about this? His team is just in over their head and whatever confidence they might have had went out the window when they lost their pivotal post player. 35-16, Kansas

2:53 Longar has 10 points and is staring down a career night on a night when the Sooners could use about half a dozen games of a similar sort from his teammates.

2:15 Sherron Collins drives to the basket and lays it off to Cole Aldrich for an easy two points.

TV Timeout(1:55) This one is just getting ugly, Oklahoma is simply outgunned. The thing you focus on at this point is winning five-minute battles. It won't win Oklahoma the game but will keep it from getting entirely out of hand and keep the Sooners competitive. They are running through the general mangers in attendance…never a good sign for the losing team.

1:06 Oklahoma makes a solid switch to the 1-3-1 and nearly pulls off a steal out of it before the ball finds it's way to Brandon Rush who promptly drills a three. Kansas is beatable when he is off his game, and is untouchable when he is on it. Unfortunately for Jeff Capel, he is on fire. 40-18, Kansas

KU Timeout (20.1 sec.) They are showing reels of the 1988 championship game, I'm sure that only adds to the fuel of many of your collective frustrated fires.

HALF-TIME: 40-20, Kansas.

Man I gotta give credit to coach Capel, most coaches would be shaken up and lose their cool in their half-time interview but he really held it together nicely and was very realistic in what will happen in the second half.

And his chief focus? Making sure his team keeps working, which is exactly where I think he should be. Again, I can't help but be impressed with him.

19:04 Longar really looks nice in this game, hits a baseline turnaround jumper while being fouled by Darnell Jackson. He makes the free throw to complete the three-point play. 40-25, Kansas

OU Timeout (16:32) After OU came out and took a few swings early on Kansas goes on an 11-0 run and is now looking on the verge of pushing Oklahoma to one of the uglier losses in recent memory. Maybe the Sooners can push back but it's hard to fault them for this, they were outgunned from the start, and then suffered a crushing setback. Plus, this is as good as any Kansas team I've watched since the Paul Pierce, Raef Lafrentz, and Jacque Vaughn squad. 51-25, Kansas

TV Timeout (15:45) Boy this is getting tough to watch, the players are working hard but there just isn't much they can do at the moment.

TV Timeout (11:46) My updates are becoming less frequent, because I'm not sure anyone is reading, and/or watching, at this point. 57-30, Kansas From the break, it sounds like Blake Griffin has in fact only suffered a sprain, it's not good but not as bad as it appeared if that is the case.

7:50 Longar just keeps it going and is in my opinion having the best game of his Oklahoma career, posting 19 points. It's not a career high but considering the level of competition it's hard to ask for much more. It's clear how much more physical he has become playing against Blake Griffin every day.

TV Timeout I don't know what more to say, Kansas is just a much better team. I will say Oklahoma hasn't quite which is a sign that Capel has their ear and is a guy they like, and want, to play for.

3:40 Tony Crocker has hit double digits with an explosive move from the wing to get an uncontested lay-up. It's one of those things he does every few games and makes you wonder why he won't do it more often.

2:38 Oklahoma is still fighting, Taylor Griffin fights and gets a putback. Really impressive to see some heart from this team, if not this could be a game that a team might take two weeks to recover from, I think this team can bounce back immediately.

GAME OVER Honestly don't give up hope Sooner fans, this was bound to happen, this team doesn't have the depth but Capel is working to develop that depth. This team didn't give up and showed some real spirit. I think there is plenty of reason for optimism, but think this game showed the Sooners severe limitations on the perimeter. 85-55, Kansas

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