Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Tonight was a night on which the senior play of Oklahoma was on display. Sam Grooms combined with Romero Osby and Steven Pledger for 59 of the Sooners 90 points in a win over Baylor that solidifies at least a .500 record for Lon Kruger in his second season with OU.
Heading into this game, the Oklahoma Sooners and Lon Kruger had a glaring issue staring his squad in the eyes. Turnovers from the point guard position at crucial times as well as throughout the game have caused heartache for Oklahoma. Against the Baylor Bears, Kruger decided to go with his senior Sam Grooms, a point guard who started every game of last season.
As the game got underway, the Sooners jumped out to a quick lead behind Steven Pledgers' two 3-pointers as he started 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Within the first five minutes of gameplay, OU had connected on 4-of-5 shots from 3-point land giving them a cushion and lead at 14-7. Pledger would find 17 of his 19 total points in the first half.
Romero Osby continued his portrayal of what consistency looks like pouring in 17 points to go along with a game high eight rebounds.
However, the story of the game was none other than Grooms. In the past two games, this is a player who netted an unusual 30 points after struggling with his jump shot all of his junior season. The question of if his success would continue was answered tonight as Grooms put up a career high 23 points and 4 assists.
In the past three games, Grooms has poured in 53 total points.
Late in the game, it would have appeared that the Sooners suffered their third injury of the season as Grooms went down hard with three minutes left in regulation. Yet, he would thankfully return after a short stint on the bench to gather himself.
Throughout the course of the game, Grooms continuously attacked the basket. The mentality translated to 17 free throw attempts and gave fans the notion that a record was going down. In 1996, Corey Brewer made 18 shots from the charity stripe to tie Jeff Webster who initially set the record in 1994. Grooms would fall just short as he connected on 15 of those attempts.
On the other side of the court was Pierre Jackson who finished with a game high 28 points. While the Sooner defense smothered Baylor's offense during the first half of play allowing the Bears to shoot a mere 20% from the field, the charge in the second half was led by Jackson. The closest Baylor would come was withint 12 points in the second half which proved to be too little too late.
By comparison, Lon Kruger's crew shot 50% from behind the arc on the evening and 44.9% from the field.
It was a great offensive night for Oklahoma yet again as they hit a season high of 90 points. Adding to what the seniors were doing, Je'lon Hornbeak who suffered an injury on Wednesday against Texas Tech seemed to find his groove again. He finished with 13 points to round out the double-digit scorers for the Sooners.
The win guarantees Oklahoma a .500 in conference play, a feat OU hasn't completed since Blake Griffin left for the NBA, as the Oklahoma takes on bitter rival, the Texas Longhorns next.