The Oklahoma Sooners converted three free throws in the final 17 seconds to give Lon Kruger his 500th career victory and a 69-65 win over Northwestern State Louisiana. OU improved to 6-1 on the season while the Demons, who entered the game ranked fourth nationally with their 88.2 points per game, dropped to 3-3.
"Again, a game where it was a lot uphill all night long in terms of trying to get a handle on it and get a hold of it,” said Kruger. “We never really did obviously, being down there late. We had some good defensive stops right there and a couple buckets in transition which really helped us out. To get Je'lon's shot in transition, to put [Steven] Pledger at the line -- a lot of big plays there late to help us sneak out with a win."
Trailing 63-57, the Sooners outscored the Demons 12-2 over the game's final 5:24. OU held NSU to 1-for-11 shooting during the stretch (the Demons scored on just one of their final 10 possessions).
Romero Osby led the Sooners with 11 points while guards Steven Pledger and Isaiah Cousins each contributed 9 points for OU. Pledger was 3-for-6 from the field and Cousins was 4-for-7. The point total for Cousins was the second highest of the year. All 20 players who saw the court tonight scored (10 each team). Romero Osby was the only Sooner in double figures. He finished with 11 points and a team-high-tying 8 rebounds before fouling out with 5:35 remaining. Osby was just 1-for-8 from the field but tied career highs with 9 free throws and 12 attempts.
Friday night’s game marked the fifth in eight days for the Sooners. The last time they played five games in an eight-game span in the regular season was 25 years ago during the 1987-88 season (Dec. 23-30).
"We played like it for sure but I don't know if it was because of fatigue,” said Kruger. “But whenever we don't play well we always have to acknowledge that Northwestern State did some nice things. They have some big athletes and they did a good job and they were physical. Not to take anything away from them, but we have to play better. We have a day off tomorrow; will get away from it a little bit and then get back in preparation for Arkansas on Tuesday."
OU plays again on Tuesday at Arkansas at 6 p.m. CT (ESPN2). It will be the sixth time in seven games the Sooners will play away from Lloyd Noble Center.