Austin Reaves’ 3-pointer was the final basket in Oklahoma’s 66-56 win at Iowa State Saturday night in Ames, Iowa.
The shot-clock beater — a dagger in the final minute — not only gave the No. 9 Sooners their eighth win in their past nine games, it also allowed Lon Kruger to celebrate inside Hilton Coliseum for the first time in his 10 seasons.
“I honestly didn’t know that (OU hasn’t won in Ames since 2011) until coach said something in practice yesterday or the day before,” said Reaves, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “They’ve been really good in the past. It is nice to get a win up here for Coach Krug. He’s an amazing coach. It’s big for him.”
Oklahoma (14-5, 9-4) maintains second place in the Big 12 behind league-leading Baylor. Iowa State (2-16, 0-13) remained winless in conference play.
The game appeared headed to runaway status shortly after tipoff.
The Sooners — playing only their second game in two full weeks because of COVID and travel issues from other schools — raced out to a 30-11 lead with 7:53 remaining before intermission.
OU had a 41-25 lead at the break but didn’t hold the same momentum entering the second half.
Iowa State went on a 21-4 run out of the halftime locker room to take a 46-45 advantage with 11:29 remaining in regulation.
The Sooners responded with a 16-4 run to take a 61-50 lead with 4:38 remaining and end the Iowa State threat.
“It was a good response in terms of losing the lead and then widening it right back out, for sure,” Kruger said. “Not that we want to get ourselves in that position more than we have to. The guys I thought maintained their poise. We didn’t really play with poise to lose the lead. I thought we were careless with the ball and frantic offensively. But when they did take the lead, I thought our guys handled that extremely well.”
ISU cut the lead to 63-56 before Reaves winded the clock down and ended things with a top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining.
“Coach just called flat and trusted me to make a play. I tried to take what the defense gave me and the shot fell,” Reaves said.
Joining the OU senior guard in double figures was Umoja Gibson and De’Vion Harmon, who had 10 points each.
Iowa State was led by Rasir Bolton’s 14 points.
The Saturday contest ended a challenging week that included an eventual postponement to a home game against Texas after two attempts to reschedule.
“Then all the sudden, we put that preparation aside and started the preparation for Iowa State,” Kruger said. “But the guys handled it well. They were really anxious to play. In fact, we had only played one ballgame in the last 13 days leading up to this. We’d only played one ballgame since we had played Iowa State last. That’s how long these two weeks have been.”
Up next is a Tuesday road game at Kansas State, where another lengthy losing streak will try to be ended by the Sooners. OU hasn’t won in Manhattan since 2012.