Iowa State's 3-point shooting too much for OU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 05, 2012
2/05/12 at 6:48 AM
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NORMAN - It has often been said the 3-point shot is basketball's great equalizer. It has rarely been shown.
Then along came Iowa State's 77-70 victory at Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Sooners threw everything they had into guarding Cyclones leading scorer Royce White. That worked out pretty well - White didn't attempt a single shot until dunking with 1:38 to play. It was his only basket on a day he scored three points, 11 under his average.
And still, Iowa State won.
Andrew Fitzgerald poured in a career-high 27 points. Fellow OU forward Romero Osby scored 17 on 6-of-9 shooting.
Still, the Cyclones won.
The Sooners outrebounded Iowa State 38-29. They turned it over just 10 times.
The Sooners lost simply because the Cyclones made more 3-pointers than any OU opponent ever has. They made 10 in the first half in taking a 38-36 lead, then another five in the second to help keep that lead for good.
Scott Christopherson hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds after tipoff, punishing the Sooners for triple-teaming White. Chris Allen hit a 3 in front of the Sooners' bench, then turned and whoofed at it. Fitzgerald made a shot to tie the score at 22-22, then Allen drilled a 3 over Carl Blair.
Sam Grooms gave OU a 36-35 advantage with 1:20 left in the first half, then Chris Babb answered with a top-of-the-circle 3 over Tyler Neal. That was the Sooners' last lead.
Carl Blair drove for a left-handed layup to knot the score at 56-56 with 7:50 to play, then Babb dropped another triple. That was the game's last tie.
There was some offensive carelessness involved. Grooms dribbled the ball away at the foul line with OU trailing 73-70 and 37 seconds left.
More often, however, OU lapsed defensively.
"They had a lot of open looks," coach Lon Kruger said after his team dipped to 13-9 overall and 3-7 in the Big 12 Conference. "We wanted to give some help on White, but not any more than we couldn't get back to the shooters. We didn't execute that recovery as well as we need to."
Thus, the repeated looks of exasperation on OU players' faces, after repeated Iowa State 3s.
"It was frustrating. You hate to see that," Osby said. "We knew that they were one of the leading teams in the country as far as shooting threes. And it seemed like they were making everything today. You'd try to go for a rebound, and the ball would be through the net."
Give Iowa State (17-6, 7-3) some credit for that. Credit Babb for his 4-of-7 3-point shooting, and Christopherson for going 3-of-5. Credit Allen for making a trio of 3s, and Melvin Ejim and Tyrus McGee for making a pair each.
Ejim had team highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. Christopherson put up 15 points. Babb, Allen and McGee reached double figures for a team that had 19 assists on 25 baskets.
"Our defense was less than stellar in the first half," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said, "but our 3-point shooting kept us in the game."
Ultimately, it decided the game.
"It's frustrating when anybody scores on you consistently. That it was threes makes it worse," Grooms said. "They made shots tonight."
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Original Print Headline: Cyclones too much for OU
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Oklahoma's Andrew Fitzgerald gains control of the ball between Iowa State's Anthony Booker (left) and Chris Allen during Saturday's game in Norman. BRYAN TERRY / The Oklahoman