OU’s starting point guard, Isaiah Cousins, has been scoring fewer points since the Sooners visited Hawaii earlier this season. That changed last night, January 18, 2016, against Iowa State. OU at ISU Box Score
Cousins is in the middle of a fine season leading his number one ranked Sooners into treacherous Ames. His conversion from guard to point guard this season seems complete. He’s handling the ball well, playing great defense and all the things you’d expect from a basketball player. His only problem this year has been four games of shooting less than 30% from the field and 0% from behind the arc.
I wasn’t ready to call it a slump. Everybody has a bad shooting game here and there. Even the greatest players can shoot their team right out of a game (James Harden, Kobe Bryant). The Sooners are winning games by getting points from other players.
A knowledgeable friend pointed out to me that it comes down to fundamentals and Cousin’s shooting motion. Sometimes he has a little hitch at the release point which usually results in a missed shot. Last night against Iowa State, he found his good stroke and got into a rhythm.
OU got points from Buddy Hield, as usual. The interesting contributions came from Isaiah Cousins and Dante Buford. The other six players that saw action contributed for a combined ten points in the loss.
“We are a veteran team. Me, Isaiah and Ryan have to do a better job getting everybody fighting and getting after it. We came ready to play, but Iowa State had more fight than us tonight.” ~ Buddy Hield
That’s why OU lost 82-77. Despite 67 points from just three guys, it wasn’t enough.
I also put the blame on a substitution late in the game. At 18:30 in the second half, OU was down by ten. By 12:30, with a good deal of effort and some fortunate calls, OU had cut the lead to six. Akolda Manyang‘s presence in the paint was really affecting Iowa State’s offense and OU was on a roll.
With 8:31 left in the game, the Cyclones’ lead was only one point. Manyang and Buford were making a serious impact. A foul was called on Manyang. During that stoppage, Coach Lon Kruger brought starters Khadeem Lattin and Ryan Spangler came back into the game for Manyang and Buford. Within 15 seconds, the Iowa State lead was back to five, and Kruger was calling a timeout.
I hoped that Kruger would recognize his mistake and Manyang and Buford would be back on the floor after the timeout, but that didn’t happen. The Sooners could not recover… not scoring again until the 5:14 mark… over three minutes without a single point, and down by eight. Unfortunately, Manyang and Buford were denied the chance to make a difference.
In the final minute, Cousins tied up the game 75-75 on a three-point basket.
Isaiah Cousins did have one of the best games I’ve seen him play while putting in a career-high 26 for the Sooners.