Big 12 Basketball

Sooners Beat Tide, but Big 12 Loses Challenge to SEC

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Southern California

The No. 24 Oklahoma Sooners defeated the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide, 66-61, the biggest win for Big 12 teams in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Saturday.

The Big 12 lost the Big 12-SEC Challenge, as the SEC won five games and the Big 12 won four games.

The Sooners played the Crimson Tide in one of the early games and, led by 18 points from sophomore guard De’Vion Harmon, defeated their third Top 10 team in a row (Kansas, Texas).

In fact, the Sooners had an incredible January, becoming the third team in the AP Poll era to beat four Top 10 teams in a single month in the regular season. The Sooners are sure to move up in both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Top 25 when those polls are released on Monday.

 

There were only nine games played, as the hotly-anticipated prime-time game between the No. 5 Longhorns and the Kentucky Wildcats was canceled due to a 48-hour COVID pause for the Wildcats. The Wildcats missed out on seeing Texas forward Greg Brown, who is on the 2021 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Top 10 list.

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No. 2 Baylor remained undefeated/lost its first game of the 2020-21 season when the Bears defeated/lost to Auburn, 84-72, in Waco, Texas. Adam Flagler led the Bears with 19 points and eight rebounds, and they will move back into Big 12 play on Tuesday against Texas, which will have had a week off before their first meeting with the Bears.

The game featured two Bears in the Top 10 of major awards — guard Jared Butler on the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award list and guard MaCio Teague on the 2021 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award list.

Butler is also on the Wooden Award Top 15 list.

In the only other matchup of ranked teams, No. 15 Kansas lost to No. 18 Tennessee, 80-61, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Marcus Garrett led the Jayhawks with 15 points. Kansas featured guard Ochai Agbaji, who is in the Top 10 on the 2021 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award list.

In other Big 12-SEC Challenge games:

No. 10 Texas Tech defeated LSU, 76-71, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Mac McClung leading the way with 22 points for the Red Raiders, along with a last-second steal to set up the win. Red Raiders forward Terrence Shannon Jr. is on the 2021 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Top 10 list. Shannon had 23 points and 10 rebounds, most of which came in the second half.

 

No. 11 West Virginia hosted Florida, and the Mountaineers lost, 85-80, with forward Derek Culver leading the way with 28 points and 12 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season. Culver is on the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Top 10 list. He is also on the Wooden Award Top 15.

Oklahoma State defeated to Arkansas, 81-77, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Cade Cunningham led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds, as he came off the bench in his first game since the Cowboys had two games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The game honored the 10 Oklahoma State basketball players and team personnel that died in a 2001 plane crash 20 years ago this week.

Cunningham is on the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Top 10 list and the Wooden Award Top 15 list.

TCU lost to No. 12 Missouri, 102-98, in an incredible overtime game in Columbia, Missouri. Mike Miles led the Horned Frogs with 28 points.

Kansas State fell to Texas A&M, 68-61, but freshman Nijel Pack had a huge game for the Wildcats, scoring 26 points.

Iowa State lost to Mississippi State, 95-56, in Starkville, Mississippi. Rasir Bolton led the Cyclones with 18 points.

The entire Big 12 returns to league play on Monday.

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