KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09: Andrew Fitzgerald #4 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts to a play against the Baylor Bears during their game in the first round of the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Oklahoma men's basketball team closed out their non-conference season Saturday afternoon with a 20 point victory against a not so well known Northwestern State squad. Coming off a disappointing loss earlier in the week against Cincinnati, it was expected that the Sooners might have been a little less than eager for this game. At times that appeared to be the case as OU took a comfortable lead into halftime only to see it evaporate early in the second half.
Fortunately though, behind a surprisingly vocal crowd, the Sooners were able to stage a rally of their own and pull away as the second half progressed. The defensive effort left a lot to be desired for most of the day, but the Sooners were able to step up when it mattered most.
OU was lead on offense by the well balanced duo of Romero Osby and Steven Pledger who both finished with 18 points. Andrew Fitzgerald and Sam Grooms also finished in double digits with 14 and 11 points respectively. The Sooners got some solid contributions off the bench from Barry Honore (four points, four rebounds, two assists) and C.J. Washington (eight points, five rebounds, three steals, three blocks) as well. Cam Clark however struggled for the second consecutive game finishing with just four points on 1-5 shooting, but he did pull down nine boards.
All things considered, to finish the non-con portion of the schedule with a 10-2 record has to be considered a substantial success given where expectations were heading into this season.
The Sooners next game on Tuesday (7pm central) will be their Big 12 opener and it will be a tough one. They have to go on the road to Columbia to face arguably the conference's best team in the Missouri Tigers.