As a double-digit lead slipped away in the second half Saturday, a sweep at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looked like it would become the latest disappointment for an Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team trudging towards the end of the season. Instead, OU regrouped regrouped in overtime to pull out a 66-62 victory in the Bedlam rivalry at Lloyd Noble Center.
OU ran its overall record to 15-14 overall and 5-11 in Big 12 play. OSU now sits at 13-15, with a 6-10 record in conference games.
The Sooners benefited from a balanced scoring effort that saw five players finish the game with at least 10 points. Forward Tanner Groves led the way with 14 points to go with 10 rebounds and four assists. Guards Umoja Gibson and Jordan Goldwire each added 13 points.
OU survived a 25-point outing from OSU guard Avery Anderson III, who has averaged 17 points per game in his last six contests. Big man Moussa Cisse chipped in 12 points for the Pokes, including an alley-oop dunk that tied the game as the clock was winding down in regulation.
Goldwire followed Cisse’s jam by missing what would have been a game-winning leaner in the closing seconds of the second half. Groves came up short on an attempt at a put-back off the miss as time expired.
The Sooners jumped on their in-state rivals early and held a 29-19 lead at the end of a rocky first 20 minutes for the Cowboys. Scoring picked up in the second half, but OU managed to extend its lead to 48-35 with under six minutes remaining in regulation. OSU forced OT with a 13-4 run in the final four minutes of the second half.
Four of guard Marvin Johnson’s 10 points from off the bench came in the extra frame, including a layup that provided the final score of the game. Gibson also had four points in OT.
Having lost 11 of their previous 13 games, the Sooners couldn’t afford a loss Saturday if they wanted to keep their flickering hopes of a spot in March Madness alive. Even with the victory, qualifying for the field of 65 will undoubtedly require that the Sooners score multiple wins from their two remaining regular-season games against West Virginia and Kansas State and the Big 12’s conference tournament.
The Sooners host the Mountaineers on March 1 before closing the regular season four days later with a trip to take on Wildcats in Manhattan.