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OU Basketball: No. 23 Oklahoma Halts Skid, Notches Crucial Win at Kansas State

Behind a strong defensive effort, Oklahoma snapped its two-game losing streak with a dominant road victory at Bramlage Coliseum.

A strong defensive performance helped Oklahoma snap its two-game skid.

The No. 23-ranked Sooners suffocated Kansas State on Tuesday night, holding the Wildcats scoreless for the first eight minutes to build an early advantage.

From there, OU’s offense took over, downing Kansas State 73-53 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.

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It was a strong response from the Sooners (16-5, 4-4 Big 12), who in their most recent game allowed Texas Tech to shoot 72 percent from the floor in the second half of Saturday’s defeat to the Red Raiders in Norman.

The Wildcats (14-7, 4-4) could only muster 19 total points in the first half, but they still went on a late charge to tighten the game.

Despite falling behind by as many as 17 points in the first half, Kansas State cut OU’s advantage down to seven with 8:28 remaining.

Great effort on the offensive glass from the Sooners stymied the momentum.

A pair of offensive rebounds from Jalon Moore and Sam Godwin led to a hook shot from Godwin to extend the lead back to nine.

Then after forcing a turnover, Otega Oweh got his first bucket of the night by crashing the glass, putting OU back up 11 with 7:31 left.

A Milos Uzan defensive board the next trip down allowed the sophomore guard to successfully run the break, setting up Moore for an easy layup to silence the crowd.

Oklahoma only won the total rebounding battle 39-35, but the Sooners converted 12 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points, and OU dominated in the paint, outscoring Kansas State 40-18.

Moore’s efforts were a big reason why the visitors found so much success down low.

He led the Sooners with 23 points, surpassing his previous career-high of 21 that he posted on Dec. 31 in a win over Monmouth, on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor and nine rebounds. Only two of those field goals came from deep, and Moore got to the free throw line eight times.

His deputy was Javian McCollum, who snapped his shooting slump in Manhattan.

OU’s leading scorer had a tough week, combining to shoot 5-of-22 from the floor against Texas and Texas Tech. But he bounced back Tuesday with a 6-of-13 shooting night and ended with 21 points, four rebounds and an assist. McCollum also shot an efficient 9-of-10 from the free throw line — but he was an outlier for the Sooners.

After missing nine free throws in Saturday’s 85-84 loss to Texas Tech, Oklahoma again struggled from the line. Despite making an eye-popping 39 trips to the stripe, OU shot a dismal 62 percent on Tuesday, which included a 1-for-7 start.

Godwin also had a strong night, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Rivaldo Soares added 10 points, five rebounds and an assist.

Kansas State was held to just 30 percent shooting from the floor, the kind of response Sooners coach Porter Moser was looking for defensively to get his team back on track.

The road trip will continue for Oklahoma this weekend.

Saturday the Sooners will take on the UCF Knights in Orlando at 3 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.