- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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There are no moral victories, but it is clear Lon Kruger’s team is getting better.
No. 7 Baylor pulled away in the final minutes of regulation to knock off Oklahoma, 77-65, at the Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday night. The Bears, known for their athleticism, stopped their two-game losing streak with sharp shooting, finishing 27 of 50 on field goal attempts (54 percent), including 9 of 18 (50 percent) from the three-point line.
OU kept battling back from deficits throughout the second half but could never get over the hump. After the Sooners cut Baylor’s lead to 62-60 with 4:42 remaining, Baylor outscored OU 15-5 in the final minutes. The Sooners dropped to 12-7 overall and 2-5 in Big 12 play.
Player of the Game: Romero Osby was in beast mode against the Bears. The junior finished with 16 points, on 5 of 11 shooting, and 11 rebounds. He had five offensive rebounds and added two blocks and one steal in 38 minutes of action.
Unsung Hero: Sam Grooms. The junior point guard did a terrific job running the team against Baylor’s 1-3-1 zone defense, helping OU finish 27 of 58 (46.6%) from the field. Grooms had seven points and seven assists with zero turnovers in 35 minutes.
Key Stat: 26. The Sooners bench played a TOTAL of 26 minutes in the game. Osby, Grooms, Cameron Clark, Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald played 174 of 200 minutes in the game for OU. That could explain why OU was able to cut into Baylor’s second-half leads but never tied the game or took the lead.
Quotable: “We were working for the most of the night from a little bit if a deficit. We made two or three runs but Baylor did a good job of responding to those runs. I like what our guys are doing from a standpoint of competing and wanting to get after it, yet we have to figure out ways to get some stops, especially in the second half there.” - OU head coach Lon Kruger on the second half.
“I don’t really like to blame stuff on fatigue. If you’re tired, Coach always tells us to get a sub. I think it’s selfish to stay out there if you are tired. I don’t want to blame it on fatigue. Like I said, we’ve got to get tougher, mentally and physically. We’ve got to find a way to get stops in crucial times.” - Osby on the impact of playing so many minutes on Tuesday.
“Like Coach (Kruger) said, you need stops. You’ve got a team as talented as they are and you’ve got guys on the floor as talented as they are, you can’t give them second chances. You’ve got to limit them to one shot, really be physical with them because at the end of the day, they’ve got athletes and they’ve got a lot of shooters.” - Osby on the final minutes.
Up Next: at Kansas State, Saturday at 6 p.m. CT