MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Oklahoma coach Porter Moser had seen enough of Kansas State’s three leading scorers on film that he knew taking away any combination of them would probably mean good things for the Sooners on Tuesday night.
That defensive performance, combined with 23 points from Jalon Moore and 21 from Javian McCollum, helped No. 23 Oklahoma pull away from the Wildcats down the stretch for a 73-53 victory.
“Our guys got a lot of respect for their guys. We watched Kaluma and Carter and those guys, and I thought our guys did a good job on them,” said Moser, whose team allowed Perry to score 23, but never let Carter and Kaluma get going.
The Wildcats’ two top scorers were a combined 3 of 20 from the field, 0 for 10 from the 3-point arc and had eight turnovers.
“I thought our guys really took the challenge on,” Moser said. “They knew how good those guys were.”
Sam Godwin added 11 points and Rivaldo Soares had 10 for Oklahoma (26-5, 4-4 Big 12), which actually blew most of a 17-point first-half lead before using a 12-1 run over the closing minutes to win its final scheduled trip to Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats (14-7, 4-4) didn’t score for more than 8 minutes to start the game and finished 16 of 53 from the field (30.2%) and 4 of 28 from the 3-point arc. They also turned the ball over 14 times while losing their third consecutive game.
“I’ll have to go back and look at the film and see if there’s something there,” Kansas State coach Jerome Tang said. “Even though we didn’t score, I thought we were playing with good energy and got some good looks.”
Kansas State probably couldn’t imagine a worse start than its last time out, when fourth-ranked Houston shut out the Wildcats for nearly 6 minutes to begin a 74-52 blowout.
But the Sooners held them scoreless through two media timeouts before David N’Guessan finally made the second of two foul shots with 11:49 to go in the first half.
The Wildcats’ first field goal didn’t come until the 10:30 mark. By that point, Oklahoma had built a commanding lead.
“Players have to make plays, and make plays for each other,” Tang said. “We’re not getting enough of that.”
The Sooners weren’t great offensively, either. They led just 35-19 at the break. And their failure to capitalize on all of that cold Kansas State shooting nearly cost them as their lead dwindled to 51-44 with less than 8 minutes to go.
That’s when the Sooners pulled down two offensive boards and Godwin got a bucket to go. Kansas State misfired at the other end, Oklahoma got another offensive rebound and Otega Oweh ended an 0-for-10 shooting slump with another basket.
The Sooners were off on the run that put the game away.
“We’ve got some hard workers,” Carter said after the loss, “and we’re going to bounce back.”
Oklahoma had lost four of its last six with only a single true road win at Cincinnati, so picking up a win at Kansas State should provide the Sooners with some much-needed momentum for the second half of the Big 12 schedule.
Kansas State was outscored 40-18 in the paint. That doesn’t compute when the Wildcats also were so poor from the 3-point arc.
Oklahoma returns home to play Big 12 newcomer UCF on Saturday.
Kansas State heads to Oklahoma State on Saturday.