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Oklahoma 78 – Colorado State 46

November 22, 2017

Its never fun to watch your team get smacked around on their home court. Yes it was a blowout in the end as the athleticism and skill of the visitors emerged over 40 minutes.

But from where I sit, the Rams played their best 20 minutes of the year in the first half.

They defended very well in the halfcourt, throwing effective double teams in the post to slow down Oklahoma big Vionise Pierre-Louis who came into the game averaging 21 and 12. The Rams were staying true to their man-to-Man principles and forcing the Sooners to work for every basket.

On the offensive end,the Rams were spreading out the bigger visitors and getting the ball effectively into the paint. They were moving the ball and minimizing the turnovers. Only one problem. CSU was not finishing at the rim and when fouled, they were missing their free throws. There were at least four missed layups and when combined witha 2-9 effort from the line, the Rams had left a ton of points out there.

They trailed 31-19 at the half. And were probably kicking themselves as they could very easily have been near or in the lead.

That was the first 20 minutes.

And then the game was decided in the first 2+ minutes of the second half as the Sooners ratcheted p their energy and the Rams failed to respond. Three unguarded layups (one after a missed double team in the post) and a three-pointer and the Sooners early 9-0 run essentially salted the game away when they led 40-19.

Oklahoma threw a variety of defensive pressures including a halfcourt 1-3-1 zone that caused the Rams fits and completely shut down their ability to get to the basket. Misses from the perimeter followed and when the defense failed to shut down the Sooner’s Gabby Ortiz from the perimeter, the rout was on.

The one bright spot in the second half for the Rams was the emergence of redshirt freshman Grace Colaivalu who was fearless in the way she attacked the paint. She finished at the rim (Colaivalu had been one of the culprits of missed layups in the first half) and finished through contact. She would end up as the Rams leading scorer with 12 points.

Not a pretty result for the team.

But a heck of a learning experience in what it takes to beat teams at a high level. It takes 40 minutes of full effort on both ends of the floor and it means you have to put the ball in the basket. A lapse here or a lapse there and a game can completely unravel as this one did.

Credit to Oklahoma for coming into Moby and teaching the Rams a hard lesson. The Sooners sustained their level of play for 40 minutes, never once taking a possession for granted. They were the masters of the outcome.

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