OU guard Javian McCollum writes his name in Bedlam lore

On3 imageby:Bob Przybylo02/24/24


STILLWATER – OU point guard Javian McCollum simply had nowhere to go, taking the ball with 12 seconds left. He couldn’t use his speed to get to the basket. He couldn’t draw contact to get to the free throw line or any separation for a mid-range jumper.

No other choice left, virtually no time left on the clock, McCollum went on instinct.

Instinct and a little Sooner Magic. McCollum drained an improbable 3-pointer at the buzzer to give visiting OU an 84-82 overtime Bedlam victory at Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon.

No doubt it was good. No doubt there were zero seconds left as the ball went through the basket. Game over.

The final Bedlam, perhaps? Goes to the Sooners with a shot that will be remembered forever.

“The dude clears out and I’m trying to get downhill to get to the basketball because we were in the bonus,” McCollum said. “So hopefully I was trying to get there. Get fouled or make the layup. But I had to maneuver because he cut off the drive and I just ended up going to a move I always work on and that’s the step back.”

McCollum had missed his first seven 3-point attempts before hitting his final two. None bigger, perhaps ever in his life, than the one to give OU the Bedlam sweep.

It was simply a game OU had to have. There is no talk of being on the bubble or anything like that. But good teams, tournament teams, find ways to win rivalry battles like this.

The Sooners trailed by eight at halftime but came out with a purpose the rest of the way. There are bigger wins when it comes to NET rankings. But there might not be a bigger win for head coach Porter Moser and how OU just silenced 11,370 fans at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“Especially when the last shot falls. But there’s gotta be a resiliency to you,” Moser said. “It’s back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Just so hard fought. But absolutely, these guys came in here (and were) determined. They felt like they had to win this game.

“I really felt like the guys did. Not in terms of any other thing other than themselves. They lost two in a row, but they keep bouncing back. We lost two tough ones, and they bounced back. I can’t say it enough. When Wright hit that shot in the corner, it’s as loud as I’ve seen a game. That was an unbelievable shot that he hit. Great atmosphere.”

McCollum finished with 14 points and two assists and just one turnover in nearly 38 minutes. He was just 5-for-16 shooting, but he’s learned to not let that dictate the rest of his game.

“It’s about what you’re doing when you’re not hitting shots,” Rivaldo Soares said. “Up until that point, I felt like Javian was guarding. He was talking on defense. He kept us engaged, was a leader. Much more than just a scorer and then being clutch at the end.”

Game 27 Takeaways

*McCollum’s heroics punctuated a gritty effort across the board. From guys like Otega Oweh to Soares somehow returning to the lineup, it’s an afternoon that let you know how much these guys want it.

Soares, playing on the sprained ankle, scored 20 points on just nine shots. That’s not just an emotional lift. He was big-time once again.

“His presence – so two days ago he got about 25 percent of the reps,” Moser said. “Yesterday he got about 50 percent of the reps. He was just like, ‘I want to play. I want to go on it.’

“What a warrior. What a game he had. Just a huge part of the win, and we missed that. Just his presence—20 points—he’s got a will to win right now, and it was great that he was able to come back to play.”

*Moser didn’t make a change to the starting lineup, but he did to begin the second half. Soares was in for Otega Oweh, who only had two points in the first half.

Message received for Oweh, who sensational in the second half and overtime. He was 8-for-10 shooting for 16 points. He looked like the Oweh from the first part of the season.

“I’m telling you—that was the first time I did that all year, and Tega could not have been better,” Moser said. “Look what he did. I don’t think he missed a shot in the second half. That was Otega of the past. So, I don’t know if that relieved some pressure on him or what, but watching him in the second half reminded me of earlier-in-the-year Otega.”

*Jalon Moore kept OU in it early when nobody was bringing it. He finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, including five offensive boards. The Sooners trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and looked to be all out of sorts.

Milos Uzan had a horrific start only to finish strong like everybody else. He added 14 points and two assists.

It was a game the Sooners had to have. Now at 19-8 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12, it was the type of heart that fans will rally behind. Accordingly, a type of performance that shows if OU is going down, it won’t be without a fight.

Final word

“All you have to do is be up at the end.” – Moser on handling the atmosphere and earning his first win in Stillwater

Final word, Part II

“That’s what we love! We love that silence!” – McCollum

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