Oklahoma overcame a 13-rebound deficit to post a 74-71 win at Baylor to improve to 14-5 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12. The loss was the Bears' first at home in league play as they fell to 14-6 and 5-2.
“Well, if there's any time you can win on the road you feel really good about it,” said Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger. “Any win against the very good Baylor club makes it better. The guys on top battled for the most part, executed things very well, moved the ball pretty well and got each other open much of the night. We didn't handle the last few minutes as well as we would've liked to, but we'll learn from that.”
With an 11-point lead, the Sooners were unfazed by a 10-0 Bears run late. OU closed the game by making five of its final six free throws to seal the win.
With a a 56-41 lead, Oklahoma withstood a 15-5 Baylor run to make it 61-56. The Sooners answered with a 6-0 run of their own, only to have Baylor respond right back with a 10-0 run to get within one at 67-66.
OU's .527 field goal effort was its second best of the year. The Sooners attempted 20 fewer field goals (75-55) but held Baylor to a .373 field goal mark.
“Any time we play Baylor they're long and athletic and do a great job,” said Kruger. “That makes you feel even better about the outcome. (Isaiah) Austin was such a big factor on the offensive boards. We just couldn't keep him away from the ball. And yet Amath (M'Baye) and (Steven) Pledger carried us throughout much of the ball game, and I'm happy to see them continue to shoot well."
Baylor lost despite its 47-34 rebounding advantage. The Bears grabbed 24 offensive boards (to OU's five) and outscored the Sooners 24-6 in second-chance points.
Amath M'Baye and Steven Pledger each scored 20 points for OU, season highs for both. M'Baye made a season-high nine shots on 12 attemnpts while Pledger finished 6-for-12. Pledger's three 3-pointers were his most in seven games.
"It feels great to pull out a win,” said Pledger. “I think we've done a great job on the road this year."
The Sooners return home Saturday to the Lloyd Noble Center to take on No. 18 Kansas State at 5 p.m. CT (ESPN2).
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