Sooners have 30 years of frustration at the Phog

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Oklahoma head coach Porter Moser remembers his first trip to Allen Fieldhouse to play at Kansas. He was an assistant coach for Texas A&M, in the first year of the Big 12.

Then-KU coach Roy Williams treated the Aggies staff well, recommended a great Italian restaurant the day before. Then proceeded to thump A&M on the court.

Welcome to the Big 12 for A&M head coach Tony Barone, Moser and the rest of the staff.

Everybody remembers their first trip. What OU fans would like to remember is a victory. That hasn’t happened in 30 years. Technically, 29 years and 11 months, but you get the idea. The last time OU won was 80-77 in Feb. 1993.

Nobody thought it would be 30 years of coming up just a bit short at KU, but that’s been the reality for the Sooners (10-5 overall, 1-2 Big 12).

Another chance to end the streak Tuesday evening.

“It’s a fun place to play,” senior Jalen Hill said. “I think we all know, everybody knows. It’s probably one of the loudest places anybody will ever play because it’s not a huge place to play. It’s small and the fans are rowdy. It’s just a great place to play really. That’s it. It’s just loud.

“I guess growing up I already knew. I kind of watched a lot of Kansas basketball. And just when I got there, I was kind of in awe because you see it your whole life and you’re there. It just feels like there’s 50,000 people. But it’s just a crazy environment.”

Hill’s not wrong about the crazy environment, but funny enough, Hill has been a member of a couple of OU teams who have been oh-so close to breaking the streak.

In 2021, playing without Hill and Brady Manek because of COVID-19, the undermanned Sooners led 57-56 with two minutes left before losing 63-59.

Last year was the Jordan Goldwire show. He tried to will OU to a comeback victory but fell short on his jumper to send the game into overtime in a 71-69 defeat.

Everybody remembers the Buddy Hield game. The 46 points, the three overtimes and the 109-106 win for the Jayhawks.

Moser said it best last week about he’s not in this game to be close, but it’s going to be quite the task against the second-ranked Jayhawks.

“You play in gyms that are packed, but sometimes you don’t have 18-20,000 packed. They get it going and they’re right on top of you. They’re really loud. The only thing we’re really going to be talking about is communicating.

“The other thing we’ve talked about is when that crowd gets going, have some good possessions. The crowd is trying to get you to speed up and have a turnover or speed up and take a bad shot. Those bad shots flow and bad possessions flow, it even goes up another decibel. There are going to be points in the game when the crowd is going crazy. That’s when we need a great possession, not come down and be soft with the ball and a horrible possession. You have to get in locked in when that crowd gets loud.”

KU won the national championship last year, and OU lost its two games to Bill Self’s club by five points. The Sooners won’t be intimidated.

After two losses by a combined four points to begin conference play, OU broke on through in an overtime win at Texas Tech on Saturday night where it felt like Hill simply would not let the Sooners drop another close contest.

One road win in the books. And a chance for history if the Sooners can earn another one in Lawrence.

Quotable

“I’ll just share with you a funny story with you about Jalen. He’s such a good kid. I got him pretty upset, I got into him pretty good at the Florida game. He had made a couple of mistakes and he got almost pissed off at me. I remember his dad telling me, ‘Jalen’s such a good kid. Sometimes you’ve just got to piss him off.’ So I’m like all right. I’m listening to his dad.

“It was a sequence in the Florida game and I took him out. I held him accountable pretty hard. He came back in and he got an offensive rebound, there was all Florida guys and he got it and laid it up. And he just had this look in his eye. So I thought he missed three bunny layups in the first half, so walking off I’m like, ‘Jalen, you’ve got to make those layups.’ He goes, ‘Coach, it was only one.’ I go, ‘I don’t know what it was, I’m just trying to piss you off.’ I was just trying to get into him. He didn’t need it. He was locked in. His confidence is going through the roof on both ends. Just such a leader and key person for us.” – Moser on Jalen Hill

#Sooners #years #frustration #Phog

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