Jan. 14, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- Kansas State kept shooting. And rebounding.
Meanwhile, the Sooners were the ones who kept scoring. Quietly, Oklahoma put together its best offensive performance of the season, its most complete win in more than a month and the most satisfying one since about forever.
The Sooners beat Kansas State 82-73 Saturday inside the Lloyd Noble Center because they made shots. Simple as that, and as coach Lon Kruger said, "Making shots is a remedy for a lot of other things.''
Consider the Sooners healed as their 54.9 percent shooting helped hide a rebounding deficiency. Kansas State outrebounded OU 44-24 and had as many offensive rebounds as the Sooners had total.
Never mind that. Not now anyway. OU got its first win in the conference, improving to 1-3 and winning its first game against a ranked opponent since December of 2010.
"For sure, when you shoot like that, it helps.'' Kruger said.
How'd the Sooners shoot it? Well, forward Andrew Fitzgerald was 9-of-10 from the field and had 21 points. Romero Osby made six of his eight shots and scored 18 points and Steven Pledger added 18 points, on 13 shots, making two of his three 3-point tries. And Cameron Clark, who came off the bench for the first time of his career, responded with 10 points on four-of-six shooting.
All this after a dismal start to Big 12 play that included losses at Oklahoma State and Missouri and home against Kansas.
"We may have caught K-State at the right time,'' Kruger said.
More like the Sooners just made their shots while K-State sputtered. OU led throughout, even by as much as 18 in the second half. Meanwhile, K-State shot just 39 percent and turned it over 20 times.
OU came into Saturday's game shooting just 34 percent in its three Big 12 games. The 55 percent effort was its third best of the season and only the fourth time in 16 games OU has gone over 50 percent.
"They're 0-3?'' Kansas State coach Frank Martin asked. "They're not an 0-3 team. Oklahoma was good today.''
Good enough to improve to 11-5 heading into Tuesday's 7 p.m. game against Texas Tech.
"Coming off a loss, you expect a great effort,'' guard Sam Grooms said. "You could see guys wanted to be better.''
- Andrew Gilman