NORMAN, Okla. – De’Vion Harmon scored 22 points and Oklahoma beat No. 9 Kansas 75-68 Saturday for its second victory this month over a top-10 opponent.
Oklahoma (9-4, 5-3 Big 12) has won three of its last four games against Kansas (10-5, 4-4) in Norman and is 8-1 at home this season at the Lloyd Noble Center. Included in that record is a win over then-No. 9 West Virginia on Jan. 2.
Kansas, which entered the game coming off losses at Oklahoma State and No. 2 Baylor, now has lost three straight games for the first time since February 2013. Marcus Garrett had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks, who were limited to two offensive rebounds. Kansas entered the game leading the Big 12 in rebounding margin but the Sooners outrebounded them 36-26.
Jalen Wilson added 13 points for Kansas.
“Big-time battle,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Both teams, I thought, fought like crazy. Buckets were hard to come by, at times, on both ends of the floor. Again, just proud of our guys. A game that could have gone either way. Guys hung in there, got a little bit of a margin there late, made free throws late and did a good job to close it out.”
A 9-2 run by Oklahoma broke open what had been a one-possession game and Austin Reaves’ first basket (after starting with seven misses) put the Sooners ahead 60-54 with 5:53 left.
Kansas pulled within 63-60 when Ochai Agbaji split a pair of free throws with 3:40 left, but Reaves and Umoja Gibson each followed with a driving layup to make it 67-60 and Kansas came no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Reaves, Elijah Harkless, Harmon and Reaves again each hit two free throws in the final 1:36 for the Sooners. Reaves scored 16 points, all in the second half, and made 10 of 11 free throws.
“I was just struggling the first half. I didn’t play well and that’s on me, 100 percent on me, and I mean, it’s in the past now,” Reaves said. “You go to halftime, you regroup and then you go out and you do what you can do to help the team win. But we really just stuck with the plan, stuck with what the coaches wanted us to do and at the end, we came out with a good win.”
The Jayhawks put Oklahoma in the bonus early in the second half – complaining about it earned Kansas coach Bill Self a technical foul – and the Sooners took advantage, making 18 of 22 foul shots after not having a free-throw attempt in the first half. Kansas made 10 of 14 free throws.
Garrett said Self’s postgame message was simple: “We’ve got to come together. Something has to change. The season is definitely not going how we expected it, but something has to change.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks went 0-3 during a brutal stretch of road games, but they know no one will feel sorry for them. Coach Bill Self will continue to look for solutions to prevent his team from losing four straight games for the first time since 1988-89, Roy Williams’ first season as Kansas coach.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma hasn’t cracked the Top 25 this season, but now is in sole possession of third place in a league with five top-15 teams. With the wins over West Virginia and Kansas this month, the Sooners are looking like a potential NCAA Tournament team.
Self, on dealing with the aftermath of a third straight loss: “We go back to practice. We’re just like 97 percent of the other teams in America. We’ve had a hard stretch, but we’ve played three road games against tournament teams. I don’t think we’re talented enough not to have a hard stretch if we don’t play well if we’re playing on the road against teams that are tournament teams.
“I don’t think that it’s broken. I do think that it certainly needs some repairing. I think we need a boost of energy. We may need to shake things up a little bit lineup-wise. … I told our guys the storybook season is done, as far as winning all your games and (getting) a one or two seed, that’s probably done. What we have to create is a storybook ending. That’s still in play.”
HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS
Wilson, a redshirt freshman, and Harmon, a sophomore, played together at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas, before heading to college. Each scored eight points for their respective teams in the first three minutes of Saturday’s game, combining for 16 of the 19 points scored to that point.
Kansas: Will play its first home game in 19 days on Thursday, facing TCU.
Oklahoma: Will try to win at No. 5 Texas for a second straight season when visiting the Longhorns on Tuesday.