For Northwestern, it was so close and so far, yet again.
After fighting back from five points down to force overtime, the Wildcats (8-4, 0-2 B1G) couldn’t close in overtime, falling to Oklahoma (11-1) 76-69, and squandering their last chance at a good non-conference win.
Vic Law, who finished with 23 points, hit a deep three to open up overtime, but Oklahoma went on a 10-0 run from there to close out a fatigued NU unit. Kristian Doolittle had six of his 14 points for the Sooners in the extra period.
Getting little from his bench, Collins opted to stick with his small-ball lineup nearly the whole night. Northwestern did a great job on Sooner star Christian James (5-of-21 shooting), but the Wildcats lost their way offensively in overtime, settling for contested jumpers. Dererk Pardon was an efficient 7-of-13 from the field, but didn’t get a shot attempt in overtime.
Law, Pardon, A.J. Turner, Anthony Gaines, and Ryan Taylor all played 36 minutes or more. Law ended the night playing 42 of 45 possible minutes.
NU had the first big run of the game, going up by as much as 11 early in the first period. They ran their sets to near perfection — with a sweet alley-oop from Anthony Gaines to Vic Law highlighting Northwestern’s first half offensive success.
A main part of their first half success came from the play of senior Vic Law, who added eight first-half points to go along with three rebounds.
Ryan Taylor endured his fair share of struggles from the field during the first half as he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The need for a traditional point guard become clearer and clearer throughout the contest. Oklahoma dialed up the pressure on as Turner, Gaines, and Law struggled to advance the ball and get the team through their sets. Often the ball became stagnant and resulted in rushed shots at the end of the shot clocks, or a violation all together.
Sooner guard Rashard Odomes had 13 points in the first period on an efficient 6-of-9 from the field as OU tied the game at 32 at the half.
The Sooners started the second period strong, building up to their largest lead of the night at six points following a three made by standout Christian James with 13:43 to go. It was after that point that NU went back to their identity of running the offense through Pardon. That move quickly turned things around as Northwestern went on a 14-6 run, with 10 of those points coming from Pardon. Taylor and Law canned a couple important threes to keep NU close with the hot-shooting Sooners.
As the clock wore down, the Sooners took a five-point lead on a Brady Manek three. But the ‘Cats came roaring back, with a Law three-pointer and a monster Dererk Pardon put-back dunk with 1:13 to go to tie the game at 66.
Both teams put together excellent possessions to close out the game, however, and the game went to overtime with the score knotted at 66.
Law canned his third three of the night from 28 feet out to draw the first blood in overtime. From there, the Wildcats didn’t score for the rest of overtime. A.J. Turner, a 90 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front end of a one-and-one in what represented an important chance to extend its lead. Neither team could get the lid off the basket until the Sooners retook the lead on a Doolittle lay-up with just over two minutes left, then scored again to make it 72-69 with 1:35 to go.
OU would score twice more, going on a 10-0 run to wrap up the game 76-69.