– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
FORT WORTH, Texas — There might be something about the purple in the opponent’s uniforms that brings out the best in Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle this season.
In helping to stem the damage from a losing streak that had put its NCAA Tournament hopes in some jeopardy, Doolittle produced a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while adding five assists in Oklahoma’s 71-62 road victory over TCU at Schollmaier Arena on Saturday afternoon. The win snapped the Sooners’ five-game losing streak and gave them a season sweep of the Horned Frogs.
“I thought he was patient offensively, attacked when he needed to, got some big rebounds for us,” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger. “Pretty much did everything you’d want a guy to do.”
Doolittle’s outing was just his second 20-point game of the season, with the other coming in the first matchup against the Horned Frogs, a 76-74 victory by the Sooners on Jan. 12 in Norman when Doolittle went for 24 points and 10 rebounds. He came up big in the first half after TCU had opened up its biggest lead at 20-12, scoring six straight points during a 20-5 run that gave the Sooners the lead for good. Doolittle’s first of three consecutive jumpers gave Oklahoma its first lead at 26-25 with 3:53 remaining in the half.
Oklahoma opened up a lead as much as 10 in the second half, but TCU fought back after a three-pointer and three-point play from guard RJ Nembhard cut the Sooners’ lead to 59-55 with 4:39 left. Two possessions later, Doolittle weaved through traffic inside and found a cutting Miles Reynolds in the lane for a layup to stop TCU’s run.
TCU then got careless with the ball as guard Kendric Davis turning over the ball on consecutive possessions, the latter resulting in a dunk by Oklahoma’s Brady Manek which all but put the game on ice.
“We got careless with the ball late in the game,” said Davis, who tied for the team lead with 14 points to go along with six steals and four assists. “When we were getting stops, we gave away, like I want to say, three of them to either a bad shot or turnover.”
Manek and Christian James each had 14 points for the Sooners, whose wins in league play this season have come in sweeps of TCU and Bedlam rival Oklahoma State. Reserve forward Matt Freeman had six points, both coming on three-pointers that were the first six points in Oklahoma’s decisive first-half run.
Bane also scored 14 points for the Horned Frogs, who struggled mightily from three-point line, making just nine of their 32 attempts from behind the arc.
The Horned Frogs were without forward and second-leading scorer Kouat Noi, who sat out with an ankle injury after rolling it in practice midweek. Noi went for 30 points with eight three-pointers made in the teams’ meeting in Norman.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 25 pictures in total.