ANALYSIS: Men’s basketball fails to convert down the stretch in loss to Oklahoma

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Senior forward Pierson McAtee leaps up for a shot during the men's basketball game against Alabama State in Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 11, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Hornets with a final score of 86-41. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

d In the first game of Big 12 conference play for the men’s basketball team, some of the Wildcats’ younger players shined, but inexperience led to a 66-61 loss at the hands of the Sooners.

Defense and persistent shooting were key factors, but momentum through the whole game kept Kansas State from victory. Scoring droughts and foul trouble also defined the game.

The last 3:45 of the second half was all Sooners. Oklahoma went on a 12-0 scoring run.

Except for points off the bench, Oklahoma outscored K-State in every facet of the game — K-State had 13 to Oklahoma’s eight off the bench points.

This game was close all the way through, with K-State leading for 33:51 of the total 40 minutes.

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger talked about the pressure in conference games.

“I guess that’s how you expect conference games to be — the really hard fought. Seemed like we were just trying to hang on for much of it,” Kruger said.

The Sooners won their last three games, for a 10-3 record on the season after beating the Wildcats.

K-State shot a total of nine free throws, making only five. While on the opposite end, Oklahoma got to the charity stripe 29 times, where the Sooners were able to make 23 of their shots.

“We talked about it all week, they’re one of the best free throw shooting teams in the league. We just put them there too many times,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said.

The Wildcats had four players with at least three fouls.

“We got in foul trouble, we’ve got guys sitting. Tough loss, we led a lot of the game, did a lot of good things. We played a lot of young guys. We didn’t find a way to win, Weber said.

Freshman guard DaJuan Gordon finished the day with eight points and played for 27 minutes.

Moving forward, the Wildcats will have to get better on the boards and playing both halves with the same intensity. They will need to have their veteran players step up and learn to share the ball on each possession.

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