First of all, I apologize for the delay in posting a recap. I did not make it to Dallas, so I watched it on TV at a sports bar in Tuscaloosa, and with the football game and everything else going on this weekend, rehashing the painful details of this game was pretty low on the priority list.
The first big surprise came with the starting lineup. I speculated that we may go small, but I was shocked that Algie Key got the start. I was even more shocked that he played so well, scoring over 20 points and actually making a few jump shots. That just goes to show you can take everything posted on this blog with a grain of salt, the little bit of him I saw in practice and at the exhibition game led me to believe he would be a limited role player for us at best. The rest of the starting lineup was Releford, Retin, Cooper, and Jacobs.
We jumped out to a 26-10 lead, but unfortunately my concerns about the new rules and our lack of depth proved to be justified. When Releford went to the bench with 2 fouls, we had no other real scoring options and OU slowly but surely chipped away at the lead. Retin picked up 3 fouls in the first half, and many of these calls came with very little contact. We ended up with Levi running the point the last few minutes of the first half, and while the 16 point lead completely evaporated, we were still in the game.
When Releford came back into the game, he did not play as well. We had several unforced turnovers and mental mistakes that cost us dearly. There was an inexplicable lane violation on a free throw in the second half when we were actually still in the game. The foul trouble also forced us to switch to a zone defense for much of the second half, and the Sooners made us pay with their talented back court by knocking down some crucial 3 point shots.
The rebounding numbers ended up close to even, but it sure seemed like Oklahoma was able to get more 2nd chance opportunities. The offense looked bad when Releford was not in the game. I know we went with a smaller lineup most of the night, but Carl played 6 minutes while Jimmie Taylor only played 3. In my opinion Taylor should be playing more and Carl less.
This was a winnable game, but foul trouble did us in, and we need somebody else (other than Algie, who played well) to step up and help Releford. Releford is not going to be able to carry us every game. We really need more consistency out of Cooper, but he was a brick mason from the perimeter.
Up next, our old friend Tubby Smith will bring his Texas Tech Raiders to Tuscaloosa for an 8 pm tipoff Thursday night. It will be televised on ESPN2, in case you are in need of a cure for insomnia.