Reaves returns and No. 9 Oklahoma holds off Iowa State 79-72

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Austin Reaves was back to his usual stat-stuffing ways.

Oklahoma’s scoring leader this season missed the previous two games while in COVID-19 protocols. He returned Saturday and had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as No. 9 Oklahoma held off Iowa State 79-72 on Saturday for the Cyclones’ seventh straight loss.

“He’s a big piece to our team,” Oklahoma’s Brady Manek said. “He does well facilitating, getting guys open, sharing the ball. He’s got a good mind for the game. He plays well at his position, he gets off screens, finds open guys. … He really did a good job and on top of that, he scored a lot.

“That’s what we need from him. He’s that kind of player. We need him to come out and do that every night.”

Manek, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since being out with COVID-19, had nine points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Sooners (12-5, 7-4 Big 12).

“I knew I needed to play well inside today,” Manek said. “Sometimes you block out and the ball doesn’t come to you, and I felt like it was coming right to me today. It was weird. But all around, I think we did well. As a team, we rebounded well.”

Elijah Harkless scored a season-high 19 points and Umoja Gibson added 18 points for Oklahoma, which bounced back from a close loss at No. 10 Texas Tech.

Rasir Bolton scored 21 points and surpassed 1,000 career points for the Cyclones (2-11, 0-8), who haven’t won since Dec. 20. Iowa State made 16 of 31 3-pointers, but just 11 of 40 shots inside the arc.

“When you get good opportunities, you’ve got to live with the results,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “You’ve got to have a peace of mind about that.”

It was a tough game for the Cyclones, who haven’t won since Dec. 20 and were coming off a 76-72 loss to No. 17 West Virginia on Tuesday.

“You don’t get to choose in life what you go through,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “God’s going to hit you with different trials and tribulations. How are you going to respond? I thought our guys responded terrific to every bout of adversity today. That’s all we can do.”

The Sooners led 40-36 at halftime. Iowa State tied it at 53 on a 3-pointer by Bolton with just over 11 minutes to play, but Oklahoma’s Kur Kuath threw down a two-handed jam on a lob from Reaves.

Iowa State led 58-57 before the Sooners went on an 11-0 run that included seven points by Jalen Hill and put Oklahoma in control for good.

“Losing is no good,” Prohm said. “It’s not acceptable. It’s not what this program’s been about. There’s great tradition here. There’s multiple championships have been won in recent years. This program’s about winning and doing things the right way on and off the floor. Though we came up short today, I think we checked all the boxes in all the other areas. Now, we’ve got to figure out ways to break through.”

BIG PICTURE

Iowa State: It was the second straight close loss for the Cyclones against a ranked team. The wins aren’t there yet, but the Cyclones are showing they can compete.

Oklahoma: The Sooners played a rare game against an unranked team and found themselves in trouble. They made it through with gritty interior defense and balanced scoring.

QUOTABLE

Prohm: “I think the last two games, if you’ve watched us play and watched us play close, I think our shot selection’s been so much better. It’s been terrific. You saw big threes in the second half where the ball went side to side. And now we’re slowly starting to creep to being a high assist team. That’s the way we play. That’s the way you’ve got to play to be efficient on the offensive end.”

FREE THROWS

Oklahoma shot 21 free throws to Iowa State’s two. Three Iowa State players fouled out — Bolton, Javan Johnson and Jalen Coleman-Lands.

Prohm said the disparity in free throws has been an issue all season.

“We’ve got to do a better job on our end of not fouling from that standpoint,” he said. “We have to do a better job of getting around in the post, fronting. … I don’t have an exact answer for that because it is frustrating. We can’t harp on it.”

UP NEXT

Iowa State: Plays at TCU on Tuesday.

Oklahoma: A home game Wednesday against No. 2 Baylor was postponed. Its next game is Saturday at No. 17 West Virginia.

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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