Kansas St. Defense Sparks 69-60 Win Over Oklahoma

USA TODAY Sports

"They played better than we did, and that is the way it works. I thought they ran their stuff more efficiently than we did. Again, their defense was a big factor in us not executing as well as we wanted to on the half court. They made three's, and we did not for the most part. So, when you play a top-ranked team in the country you need to play better than we did to win, and we did not play at that level." - Lon Kruger

Heading into this game, Lon Kruger and his Oklahoma Sooners knew Rodney McGruder was the player to stop.

"He works so hard, and it is hard to stay in touch with him the entire time. I thought our guys worked at it, but he got a little separation there a couple of times. It seemed like there was 3 or 5 possessions when he had a three. I do not know if it was that fast, but it seemed like it. He works. He got some separation and made us pay for it." - Lon Kruger

Usually, a scouting report keys in on two players at minimum that the defensive focus will need to shift toward. However, on an afternoon like this one, no scouting report could have predicted how many players were going to go off for the Kansas St. Wildcats.

They are good shooters. (Shane) Southwell really adds something to them. His ability to step out and make three's. Of course, (Rodney) McGruder is a terrific player, and (Will) Spradling is a good shooter. So those three guys plus (Angel) Rodriguez who adds a few. They have good guys. We were concerned about a lot of things with them, but their ability to make three's has been a little streaky maybe on the year, but still very capable. So, it was not our intent to encourage them to shoot three's." - Lon Kruger

Not only did Oklahoma force Kansas St. to shoot from outside, the Wildcats made them pay when the defense sagged off. On the after noon, KSU shot 24 3-pointers while connecting on 10 of those for 41.7%.

Leading the way for the Kansas St. Wildcats was the usual suspect in McGruder who poured in a game high 20 points. Before the game began, this was the only Wildcat to average in double digits in scoring. But, as the afternoon would have it, three additional players would hit double figures as well. Will Spradling possess the ability to stretch the floor as a shooter and dropped 15 points on Oklahoma, Shane Southwell added another 12 along with Angel Rodriguez's 12 to round out the quartet.

As the title says it was the defense that led them to this victory. Early on, it was apparent that the notion set in motion by Bruce Weber was to shut down Romero Osby as well as keeping Steven Pledger out of a rhythm.

Osby finished the first half only getting up two shots and two total points. However, he would have a better showing in the second half as he finished the game with a team tying high of 12 points (Amath M'Baye finished with 12 as well.

Not only were the Wildcats successful in keying in on these two players, they also forced turnover after turnover. The Oklahoma Sooners were committing an average of 10.7 turnovers through the first three games of conference play. In this afternoon's matchup, the Sooners had committed 11 in the first half. It was the rebounding performance that would counterbalance the turnovers as OU outrebounded the opponent by a margin of +12.

"They played better than we did, and that is the way it works. I thought they ran their stuff more efficiently than we did. Again, their defense was a big factor in us not executing as well as we wanted to on the half court. They made three's, and we did not for the most part. So, when you play a top-ranked team in the country you need to play better than we did to win, and we did not play at that level." - Lon Kruger

Sometimes, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. However, the Sooners will need to put this loss behind them in a hurry as the Texas Longhorns, a bitter rival, is traveling to Norman for Big Monday.

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