Oklahoma led the majority of the game in a 72-66 win over No. 5/5 Kansas to end a two-game losing streak and improve to 15-7 overall and 6-4 in the Big 12. Kansas lost for the third straight game and fell to 19-4 and 7-3.
OU's Romero Osby (Photo by OU Sports Information)
The win was OU's first over an AP top-five opponent since beating Texas 82-72 on Jan. 28, 2006. It also snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Jayhawks.
"When you beat a Kansas team you always feel good about it,” said Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger. “I am really happy for the players and fans because those spontaneous celebrations are something you can't put a value on. Credit to the tradition of Kansas and how great they are through the years and this year too. A lot of different guys stepped up and made plays and made shots there late. We made enough jumpers here and there to keep our head above water."
After going 4-for-16 from the field against Kansas two weeks ago in Lawrence, Romero Osby was 6-for-8 today and finished with a game-high 17 points. He made his fifth 3-pointer of the year (now 5-for-8) and added a team-high eight rebounds and three assists. Steven Pledger netted 15 points for OU after averaging 3.5 points the previous two contests. The senior guard was 6-for-14 from the field (2-for-7 from 3-point range after going 0-for-7 the last two games) and added six boards and two assists.
"It's kind of the nature of this season,” said Kruger. “Different guys different nights have stepped up. Romero is the cornerstone most of the time and [Steven] Pledger most of the time and Amath [M'Baye] most of the time. Other guys just stepping up different times so it's great. A lot of people feel good about their contributions and I'm excited about the next game."
"We had a lot of energy from the get-go,” said Osby. “Shoot around was really active, the guys were active, everybody was anxious just to get out there and play. That's the thing you love about college basketball. You have the crowd behind you at home and everybody has enthusiasm. Coach has been preaching that since day one, talking and helping each other and making that extra effort. I think that ended up being the deciding factor, the fact that we came out there and played hard and defended well."
Oklahoma's 15 wins match its total last season (finished 15-16) and are more than in the 2009-10 (13) or 2010-11 (14) campaigns. Its six Big 12 wins are more than in any of the previous three seasons. OU has eight games remaining in the regular season. The Sooners' 72 points were their most against the Jayhawks in the last six meetings. OU had scored more than 72 just once (78 in 2009 in Norman) in the last 13 meetings against KU.
OU finished with seven 3-pointers to KU's five, marking just the second time in Big 12 play the Sooners made more treys than their opponent (OU made eight to Oklahoma State's six on Jan. 12). Entering the day, Oklahoma had 34 3-point makes in nine league games while opponents had 67.
The Sooners are home again on Monday when they host TCU at 6 p.m. (televised by ESPNU).