If Saturday was a gut check game for the Kansas Jayhawks, Monday’s home game with Kansas State will need a stronger description, after Kansas lost their third straight game Saturday, for the first time since 2005, with a 72-66 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners.
The loss puts the Jayhawks (19-4, 7-3) no longer in sole position of first place in the Big 12. In fact, they are now second a game behind Kansas State.
The win was Oklahoma’s first over Kansas since 2005 and now puts them in a good position to return to the NCAA Tournament in their second year under coach Lon Kruger.
Despite the loss, the Jayhawks came out with more intensity than in Wednesday night’s loss, but they could not shake off the pesky Sooners (15-7, 6-4), who were red hot from the field in the first half, shooting 56% in building a 38-34 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Oklahoma did cool off, but always seemed to knock down a timely mid range bucket, as Kansas often cut the Sooners slim advantage to one, but were unable to wrestle the lead away.
In addition, the Jayhawks shot poorly from the foul line, only converting on 11 of 20 attempts.
Guard Ben McLemore led the team in scoring with 15 points and was one of three Jayhawks in double figures. Center Jeff Withey added 14 points and six rebounds and a block, which tied Greg Ostertag’s all time school record.
Romero Osby led the Sooners with 17 points, while Steven Pledger added 15 points.
Elijah Johnson added 10 points and Travis Releford scored nine and pulled down eight rebounds for a Kansas team that now faces arguably its biggest game of the season, Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse against the fired up Wildcats, who dropped the first meeting between the two schools this season, 59-55 in January.