Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
Northwestern State took Oklahoma down to the wire Friday night. They just didn't have a Justin Wallace on the roster. You know, the kid who hit the 3-pointer in the corner to beat Iowa in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Go with me here.
Apparently the Northwestern State legend of Jermaine Wallace hasn't been explained to this season's team.
Wallace was the senior guard that hit the deep in the corner 3-pointer that took out Iowa in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. It was a 14-3 upset, and the Hawkeyes team that many thought had the ability to get top the final eight was gone.
Friday night, the Demons took on the Oklahoma Sooners, a sneaky young team under Lon Kruger's watch and almost pulled off a similar upset, albeit one with less on the line.
Northwestern State had the Sooners on the ropes until late. Neither team was shooting what you would call well, and Oklahoma missed a few good looks from inside the lane that could have sealed this game much earlier.
But they didn't and that is what game the Demons so many looks at the basket late with a chance to tie. The only issue was that Jalan West kept forcing shots. First it was a two-point attempt that easily could have been passed. The other was a long three from the wing.
Admittedly the Demons were handcuffed. They played more than 12 minutes with just a single timeout left, and Oklahoma was firmly in the bonus for almost as long. That limits your options; it limits the ability to set up a play to get your guy alone in the corner.
It means you can't set up the Wallace-type shot (which was also forced, but at least he made a move to get free). It means you end up with tough defenders right in your face constantly. You have no recourse but to fight against it with wild chances.
Northwestern State tried everything in the book: throwing the ball off Oklahoma on inbounds chances, tossing it off Sooner feet while falling out of bounds, wildly tipping loose balls.
It just wasn't enough. There was no Wallace moment coming.
Northwestern State fell to Oklahoma, 69-65.