Feb 29 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guards Steven Pledger (2) and Carl Blair (right) fights to control the ball against Texas Longhorns guard Myck Kabongo (center) during the first half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma Sooners have been working on shoring up the start of the second half while limiting the run of their opponents. This was a focus heading into the RRS against the rival Texas Longhorns. Yet, once again, we were treated to another game that had an almost identical story line as the first matchup between the teams.
Yes, Lon Kruger and the Sooners were able to avoid the second half slump that Sooner fans have become accustomed to. All that would change as Steven Pledger picked up his fourth foul and was forced to ride the pine as the clock slowly ticked away. After Pledger picked up his fourth, Texas would go on 12-7 run to even things out at 62 a piece. With 3:45, Kruger made the decision to put Pledger back into the game.
However, ball protection was lacking as Carl Blair Jr. and Sam Grooms split game time. This led to 16 turnovers on the part of Oklahoma with Texas coming up with 10 steals. Grooms was unable to hit his usual assit to turnover ratio and Blair wasn't any better.
The turnovers led to quick points from the outlet pass to right underneath the basket for Sheldon McClellan who finished the night with a game high 24 points in just 29 minutes. Myck Kabongo had an atrocious night, but there to shore things up was junior guard J' Covan Brown who got his stats with 22 points.
One solid thing for the Sooners was C.J. Washington. While he may not have had a direct affect on the scoreboard, he added a spark off the bench as he pulled down eight total rebounds with four of them being by way of the offensive glass.
Oklahoma had the lead for most of the night, but the final two minutes decided the game. With Texas making a late push, Oklahoma was unable to push back ultimately leading to yet another loss on the road.
As has been stated before, this team has a few of the pieces it needs to succeed in conference. The will power is there along with the hustle. Add in a few more players like gym rat Amath M'baye and this team could win a few more of the close games.
One game remains on the schedule before tournament play. Will the Sooners get a win on the last game of the regular season by downing the Texas A&M Aggies? We will find out in the coming days.