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NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor
Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are deserving of their ranking, but Oklahoma never backed down at any point.

The Oklahoma Sooners faced a tall task in the form of a road test against the No. 1 Baylor Bears, but they’re able to hold their heads high following an 84-74 defeat. The game was closer than the score would indicate, as the Sooners actually had the ball down five points with 50 seconds to go.

Offensively, the Sooners and Bears both came out on fire, with OU actually shooting over 68 percent from the field in the first half. However, turnover issues (9), some hot shooting from the Bears (63.3 percent) and a major disadvantage on the glass (14-4) kept Porter Moser’s team down nine at the half. In the second half, the Sooners flipped the script on the turnover front, with Baylor committing 13 after the break. OU’s shooting wasn’t as hot in the second half, but better ball control and defense allowed them to stay within striking distance until the very end. Clutch plays on both ends would win the day for the Bears, but this absolutely serves as a statement game for this OU team regardless of the outcome.

As the Sooners continue what is looking like one of the toughest month’s you’ll ever see on a basketball schedule, No. 11 Iowa State comes to Norman for a 5 p.m. matchup on ESPNU. This will be followed up by a trip to Austin to face No. 14 Texas, followed by games against No. 1 Baylor, No. 6 Kansas and No. 9 Auburn (with some tough road games against TCU and West Virginia sprinkled in, as well) before January’s end.

While this obviously looks daunting, this will give OU a needed boost to its SOS while providing the opportunity to pick up some quality wins its NCAA Tournament resume. Additionally, this team is mentally and physically tough enough to do much more than put a scare into these teams. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Sooners pull off multiple ranked wins during this stretch.

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