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Sooners struggle in second half in loss to Kansas

Jan. 13—Despite trailing by just one point heading into halftime, Oklahoma seemed to have a much bigger deficit to overcome in the second half.

It was the kind of high-energy first half expected from a top-10 matchup at Allen Fieldhouse. The lead changed hands nine times as both sides shot a high percentage from the floor, particularly inside the paint.

The Sooners had given up five turnovers and forced just one, and Kansas' KJ Adams Jr. was heating up with 15 points on 5-9 shooting.

Even still, the Sooners were within one possession with 20 minutes to play. The only question was how long they could continue to play like this and stay in the game.

In the second half, the Sooners' offense finally slowed down, but the Jayhawks' didn't.

Playing in their final game at Allen Fieldhouse before moving to the SEC, the Sooners stumbled in the second half of a 78-66 loss.

It was Oklahoma's 23rd consecutive loss to Kansas in Lawrence and its sixth-straight loss in the series.

The Sooners took the lead back early in the second half when Otega Oweh found a lane in transition and got a layup to fall. The play capped a 5-0 run, but the Jayhawks took control the rest of the way.

Kevin McCullar Jr., who had been quiet in the first half with six points, outscored the Sooners on his own over the next eight minutes of game time.

He scored 15 points in the second half with eight of those points coming from the free throw line.

Meanwhile, the Sooners couldn't match up with center Hunter Dickinson, who scored a game-high 24 points on 11-19 shooting. Oklahoma ended up winning the battle of the boards 39-38, but Dickinson's 14 rebounds ended up being a difference-maker.

The Sooners trailed 12-4 early in the game and had to battle back to retake the lead.

Javian McCollum played a big role in the Sooners' comeback, scoring 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Oklahoma shot 48% from the field and had five offensive rebounds on its 15 misses.

In the second half the Sooners couldn't find those same open looks.

They turned the ball over six times and were 3-11 from behind the arc. The Sooners ended up shooting 32% from the field in the second half and had streaks of five and six consecutive missed shots.

McCollum only attempted three shots in the second half and finished with 17 points on 5-9 shooting and four rebounds. He also accounted for six of the team's 11 turnovers.

Milos Uzan added 15 points on 6-13 shooting and knocked down two triples.

The Sooners were outscored in the paint 46-26 and 24-14 in the second half.

They'll look to snap their two-game losing streak on Wednesday at home against West Virginia.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com