Sooners withstand OSU run, earn victory
February, 22, 2012
By Brandon Chatmon | ESPN.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- We’ve seen this before.
Oklahoma stumbled out of the locker room, having left its first-half intensity in the bowels of the Lloyd Noble Center as Oklahoma State charged back from a large halftime deficit.
Except this time the Sooners responded.
OU rebuffed an early second half run by OSU to secure a 77-64 win over the Cowboys on Wednesday night. The Sooners snapped their six-game losing streak with the win, their first since Jan. 28.
“It feels good to finally get a win,” forward Romero Osby said. “I don’t really sleep well after losses. It felt good to get a win, we really needed one.”
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireAndrew Fitzgerald had six points and six rebounds in OU's win over Oklahoma State.
OSU went on a 24-11 run to start the second half after OU took a 30-12 advantage into the locker room, mirroring the second half struggles that have doomed the Sooners to several losses including recent defeats to Texas, Iowa State and Texas Tech.
“I am really proud of our guys (for) responding the way they did to the Cowboys’ run,” said OU head coach Lon Kruger.
After the Cowboys cut OU’s lead to 42-39 with 13:05 left in the game, Osby turned up his intensity. The junior scored two baskets and grabbed two rebounds in a four-minute stretch which saw the Sooners go on a 9-0 run to take a 51-39 lead.
OSU never came within nine points for the remainder of the contest.
“We did a good job of getting right back in the ball game,” Kruger said. “With our run it popped (the lead) back out to nine or 12 there and we played to that margin the rest of the way.”
The Sooners smothering defense was the story of the first half.
“We had defensive intensity every possession,” forward C.J. Washington said. “We kept them out of transition in the first half. (We) came down, guarded them, were ready for everything.”
OSU shot 16.7 percent (4 of 24) in the first half as the Cowboys scored 12 points, a school-record low for a half in Big 12 play.
“They were playing really good defense and took us out of our quick-hitters, sets,” OSU guard Keiton Page said. “They were denying entry passes and shots just weren’t falling for us.”
OSU quickly erased their 18-point halftime deficit but the Sooners finally responded to an opponent’s second-half run, then cruised to the double-digit win.
“We’re definitely learning,” OU guard Steven Pledger said. “It’s definitely a boost to our confidence. They made a run, we (withstood) the run and made our own run and kept it going for the rest of the game.”
Said Osby: “We weren’t really showing that we’ve learned from these situations. So it felt good to get a second half run and counter the other team’s run.”
Pledger and Osby were two main keys to the win. Osby finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Pledger finished with a team-high 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting.
With the strain of a six-game losing streak finally off their shoulders, OU travels to Baylor with hopes of upsetting the Bears on Saturday.
“It’s a relief,” Pledger said. “We know we can play and we’ve been working hard so it’s good to get a win.”
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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35