OSU Rides Late 1st H Surge To Down Sooners

From Associated Press
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) – Travis Ford waited until about five minutes before the Bedlam rivalry game to have a team manager bring in the special suit jacket he was going to wear.

It was the brightest shade of orange, just like the one women’s coach Kurt Budke used to wear when his Cowgirls faced rival Oklahoma.

After the game, Oklahoma State was able to present a game ball to Budke’s widow in celebration of a victory intended to honor him.

Freshman Le’Bryan Nash tied his career high with 21 points, Keiton Page scored 18 and Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma 72-65 on Monday night.

It was the first basketball installment of the rivalry since Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were among four people killed in a Nov. 17 plane crash.

“I always thought it was kind of neat that he did it on Bedlam,” Ford said. “I kind of thought about it in years past. It was kind of his thing.

“We kept it under wraps. I wanted to just honor him by it.”

Ford didn’t even tell his players until the game was almost ready to start, then told them the story of how the Cowgirls had upset No. 6 Oklahoma the first time Budke came out wearing the orange jacket.

“Let’s go represent that in the right way,” Ford told them.

The Cowboys (9-7, 2-1 Big 12) didn’t trail after the first four minutes and hung on to pick up their fourth win in the last five games in the rivalry.

Carl Blair scored a season-high 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Romero Osby had a career-best 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Oklahoma (10-5, 0-3).

The Sooners have lost their first three games in Big 12 play for the second straight season and only the third time since the conference was created.

After a 9-1 start, Oklahoma has lost four of five.

“Conference play’s tough,” coach Lon Kruger said. “The level of competition has gone up a lot. We’ve got to realize that, try to prepare for that.

“I don’t think our guys have been surprised by it. They know that the league is very, very good. We’ve got to do more things to make good things happen instead of just wanting good things to happen.”

Oklahoma trimmed a 17-point lead to five in the final minute, but Oklahoma State made all eight of its free throws in the last 43 seconds to finish it off.

Oklahoma State claimed the lead for good with an early 7-0 run that featured a dunk by Michael Cobbins and a 3-pointer by Nash. The Cowboys then came up with an answer each time the Sooners started closing in down the stretch.

Blair scored eight straight points for Oklahoma to trim a 17-point lead to 52-43 on his 3-pointer from the left side with 10:19 left.

The Cowboys grabbed two offensive rebounds before Cobbins’ left-handed dunk sparked a 10-2 response, with Markel Brown’s reverse layup restoring the 17-point cushion at 62-45 with 7:22 remaining.

Blair started another comeback attempt by the Sooners with a 3-pointer, and Osby had back-to-back baskets to get the deficit down to 62-52 with a little over five minutes to play. But Oklahoma missed its next eight shots over the next four minutes to derail its chances.

Osby hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 34 seconds left to pull the Sooners within 66-61, but Cezar Guerrero and Brian Williams made two free throws apiece on Oklahoma State’s next two possessions to preserve the lead.

Williams finished with 13 points for the Cowboys, who limited the Sooners to a season-worst 32.4 percent shooting.

“We know our halfcourt defense is going to be our identity,” Page said. “We know our offense is going to come to us.”

Andrew Fitzgerald had 12 points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma but was limited to 25 minutes by foul trouble. The Sooners haven’t shot better than 38 percent in three conference games after connecting on 45.4 percent in nonconference play.

“We haven’t shot the ball well in any game in conference play,” Kruger said. “We’ve got to get better movement, we’ve got to work harder to get better shots, we’ve got to compete harder against better defenses.”

Neither team could get much going offensively at the beginning, combining to make only seven of 31 shots over the first 10 minutes. Oklahoma State strung together enough points for a 17-7 lead after Williams’ two-handed jam.

The Sooners responded with their only consistent offensive stretch of the opening half, scoring the next nine points as Kruger gambled by keeping Cameron Clark on the floor with two fouls. Clark hit back-to-back jumpers and set up Osby for a two-handed alley-oop dunk during the run but then picked up his third foul with 6:37 left before halftime and had to come out.

Page drove for a layup and nailed a pair of 3-pointers during a 14-2 run to close the first half, and Cobbins’ layup made it a 35-22 Cowboys advantage at the break.

From Soonersports.com
STILLWATER, Okla. — Freshman Le’Bryan Nash tied his career high with 21 points, Keiton Page scored 18 and Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma 72-65 on Monday night in the Bedlam rivalry game.

The Cowboys (9-7, 2-1 Big 12) didn’t trail after the first four minutes and hung on to pick up their fourth win in the last five games in the rivalry.

Carl Blair scored a season-high 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Romero Osby had a career-best 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Oklahoma (10-5, 0-3). The Sooners have lost their first three games in Big 12 play for the second straight season and only the third time since the conference was created.

Oklahoma trimmed a 17-point lead to five in the final minute, but Oklahoma State made all eight of its free throws in the final 43 seconds to finish it off.
Postgame Notes
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Jan. 9, 2012

• Oklahoma shot a season-low .324 from the field, .235 (4-for-17) from 3-point range and .650 (13-for-20) from the free throw line in a 72-65 loss at Oklahoma State. The defeat was OU’s fourth in the last five games following a 9-1 start and third consecutive to start Big 12 play.

• The Sooners posted a 50-44 rebounding advantage and held the Cowboys to .386 field goal and .250 (5-for-20) 3-point shooting. OSU outscored OU by 10 at the free throw line, however (went 23-for-30).

• Down one (21-20) inside of five minutes left in the first half, the Sooners watched OSU go on a 14-2 run the final 4:30 to take a 35-22 lead at the break. OU went 1-for-9 from the field and committed two turnovers during the stretch, and never got closer than five points after halftime.

• Junior guard Carl Blair played 30 minutes off the bench and registered personal OU highs of 20 points (17 after halftime), 10 rebounds and five steals. It was his second double-double in an OU uniform (14 points, 11 assists vs. Baylor in last year’s Big 12 Championship first round).

• Blair was 6-for-7 from the free throw line tonight after going 6-for-6 Saturday against Kansas. He is averaging 15.5 points the last two contests after averaging 3.1 the first 13 games of the season.

• Romero Osby recorded his fifth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He ranks second in the league in double-doubles behind Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Osby’s six offensive rebounds tied a career high (six vs. Idaho State in season opener). He has grabbed at least 10 rebounds seven times in 15 games.

• Andrew Fitzgerald’s 12-point effort extended his double-digit scoring streak to 10 games. He added nine rebounds (five offensive) in his 25 minutes.

• Steven Pledger was held under 10 points for the first time this year. He was 3-for-13 from the field and finished with nine points before fouling out.

• Sam Grooms entered the game ranked second in the Big 12 in assists (5.5 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7) but finished with no assists and three turnovers tonight.

• Cameron Clark battled foul trouble (played just 14 minutes) but still grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists.

• Oklahoma returns home to host No. 18 Kansas State on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT.

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