Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma Sooners continued their home winning stretch against Travis Ford and improved to 2-0 in conference play with a win over the Oklahoma St. Cowboys.
Lon Kruger has his Oklahoma Sooners squad on a current four game winning streak at a mark of 11-3 and 2-0 in conference for the first time since 2009. The victim this time just happened to be in state rival, the Oklahoma St. Cowboys who have lost the past nine meetings in Lloyd Noble.
"It was a good ball game. I thought the guys had good energy from the start, moved the ball well and had pretty good activity on loose balls. We withstood the run by Oklahoma State there in the second half and gained our composure pretty well at that point and made good plays for each other down the stretch. It was a little sloppy there late, but we will learn from that and hopefully get better. Overall, it was a good win for us and we beat a really good ball club. Oklahoma State is a really good team and any time we can beat a good club like that, we feel good about it." - Lon Kruger
This was a game in which the Sooners never trailed as they jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. While it appeared that OU would continue to pull away, the Cowboys made a push in the second half to put fans on the edge of their seats. Oklahoma St. would string together a 17-5 run to come within two points of Oklahoma. Just a few minutes later, the Sooners would regain control and all but take the game using a 12-3 run with minutes left to play.
Oklahoma St. found their usual leading scorer at it once again as Markel Brown netted a game high 19 points. Star freshman Marcus Smart never found a groove for which he could work in as foul trouble landed him on the bench late in both halves. However, it was Kruger's philosophy in guarding Smart that gave him the most trouble.
"Marcus Smart is a terrific player, and with any great player you have to give them a little extra attention. The guy that is on him has to work hard, and we have to be ready to help in either direction. I think Marcus was burdened by the fouls tonight, which limited him a little bit. He is a terrific player and makes those around him better." - Lon Kruger
Leading the way for Oklahoma was none other than the usual suspect, Romero Osby, who finished with 17 points on 6-12 shooting. Heading into this game Osby had the opportunity to break the school consecutive made free throw attempts record at 37. After hitting 36, Osby had the final chance to tie the record but came up just shy.
Complementing Osby were newcomers Buddy Hield and Amath M'Baye who both pouring in 15 points a piece. After struggling for a period of time, M'Baye has come back to life.
"I'm starting to feel great. Just the fact that I'm able to work with my teammates and my teammates are able to work with me. I take issue to make sure I know every play or philosophy to know where the ball is supposed to go. I think that I'm start to feel real comfortable in it." - Amath M'Baye
However, the real difference maker this afternoon was the 61.5% shooting from behind the arc, a number nearly double the Sooners' season average.
"I had to shoot the ball confidently and the past couple of games I have been shooting the ball confident, so I just stepped (up) and was very confident tonight. The 3's were dropping for me tonight." - Buddy Hield
Up next for the Sooners are the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday, January 16th at 7:00 PM CST. They will be looking to increase they streak to 3-0 in conference with yet another home game.