For the time being, two basketball programs inverted in a three day span as Mike Boynton’s Cowboys completed a Bedlam sweep of OU with a hard fought 79-75 win inside of what once was iconic Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Even though Cade Cunningham is the best college player in the country you can’t say this was just Cade in the second game of a Bedlam doubleheader because he didn’t make a basket until seven minutes remained in the game.
OU changed their defensive posture with Cade Cunningham in Game 2 of Bedlam and had two or threes guys around the presumptive No. 1 pick every time he touched the ball.
On the night Cunningham was 3-8 shooting the ball and finished with a line of 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. But as was the case in Game 1…Mike Boynton made sure Cade had the ball in his hands down the stretch where his star could get to the free throw line and ice the game.
Other O-State players stood up and made baskets as what in essense was O State had a 4 on 3 setup everytime they ran a possession in a half court set. Cade Cunningham didn’t force the issue, but instead made the right pass—the right basketball play.
This is why I think he would be such an automatic fit with the Thunder’s young set of guards..especially Shai Gilgeous Alexander…. because in essence Cade can play the point, the two guard, or the small forward position to varying degrees on any possession. He can literally morph his game as the other team’s defense dictates.
Kaleb Boone had 17 points, 9 rebounds, and one assist and from the game’s opening possession and was the Cowboy who most benefitted from OU putting two players on Cade every time he touched the ball.
For Lon Kruger and the Sooners their season isn’t over, but some stark realities were exposed in this two game Bedlam set. The first being even with Brady Manek having his best game of the season in Game 2 with a 20, 9, 4 night — his Sooners couldn’t get over the hump on a night Cade Cunningham only shot the ball EIGHT times.
The depth we all thought OU had on their bench was non-existent. To be blunt…Coach Kruger got virtually nothing out of Jalen Hill, Olandis Williams, Kur Kuath, and Victor Iwuakor. As in nothing. He barely played any of them in Game 2 and combined they didn’t score a basket or make any contribution rebounding the ball or playing defense. Nothing.
Both coaches used eight guys in this game, but what Mike Boynton got out of 6, 7, and 8 was profoundly better than what the Sooners’ got from their bench.
Moving forward…neither team can lose sight of the reality both play tough Big 12 games on Thursday. O State is at Baylor in a game I can’t wait to see, while the now struggling Sooners host the struggling Longhorns in a game which will probably decide who’s seeded sixth and seventh at the Big 12 Tournament next week in Kansas City.
How quickly things changed for O State and OU in a three day span. But by the same token–we have to wait and see what happens with Cade and Co. at Baylor and West Virginia to close out the Big 12 regular season death march.