In the early going, the Oklahoma Sooners caught a break from the Kansas St. Wildcats as Rodney McGruder picked up a couple of quick fouls landing him on the bench in foul trouble. With the top scorer for K-State relegated to the bench, the Sooners were unable to separate themselves from the competition and trailed 28-23 at the half.
As the first half concluded, it had become apparent that this would be a defensive struggle with a long span of time without a field goal. In the second half, it would be the Wildcats pushing their lead to 8 points. Oklahoma would trail the entire second half until they used an 8-0 run to ties things up at 50.
Angel Rodriguez, a constant pressure on the ball ended up making the game winning free throws after driving the lane and drawing contact. However, the foul left a window of opportunity for the Sooners as 5.6 seconds remained on the clock.
Sam Grooms, an unlikely scorer, had made a three-pointer followed by a layup to tie the game up. He had the hot hand going into the final seconds and Lon Kruger tapped in to this while drawing up a play specifically designed for Grooms.
"We wanted to get it in quickly to Sam [Grooms] and then push it with that little pick there. We didn't get that done quickly in the back court; we used up some time. But their guys tried to keep that from happening, too. They won alot of battles on the day, and they won that one too." - Lon Kruger
Just a Head Coach Kruger had said, it was a game of hard fought battles and the Kansas St. Wildcats won more than they lost taking the game 52-50.
"Tough game from start to finish, really physical time from the offensive end. Kansas State did a great job; I thought they were into it and dictated for most of the night with their defense. We had trouble getting separation and trouble scoring. In the end I thought we really fought hard. They are hard to guard, especially in the second half when we were down by six or eight for much of it, but we kept going and kept going. We will grow from that, but we have to play harder, pick better and do things we need to do on the offensive end to get more separation and get better shots. Credit Kansas State; they were the better club and deserved to win." - Lon Kruger
While the crowd was certainly into the game, the Sooners repeated a majority of their mistakes they made in Manhattan just two weeks ago. Turnovers and points off turnovers were the key factor in the first matchup between these two teams. Oklahoma committed 14 turnovers to K-State's 10. But, in a twist of events it was OU who came up with 17 points off turnovers to KSU's 8 points.
For the second time, Oklahoma out rebounded their counterpart 38-34. Obviously there were a ton of missed shots going up as both squad were held to under 40% shooting. It was the Sooners' Romero Osby pouring in a game high of 13 points while no other Sooner would score in double-figures.
"I thought [Oklahoma's] defense was as good as it's been. It was way better than it was at our place, and just watching them in other games, watching them against Texas a week or so ago. They were locked in. They fought screens, they hedged hard, they were scrambling and they got the shooters. They made everything tough. I thought if we did anything to hurt ourselves maybe there was a couple of questionable shots at times, but on the road you've got to find a way to win, and that's all that matters is to grind it out and find a way to win." - Bruce Weber
Oklahoma will have another tough test ahead as they face Iowa St. on Monday at 6:00 PM CST.