No. 6 Baylor Pulls Away Late for 77-65 Win

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 24, 2012

(12-7, 2-5)
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By Andrew Gilman |

NORMAN, Okla. --
No one was too excited about any sort of moral victory Tuesday night against Baylor. Even coach Lon Kruger and forward Romero Osby said they were staying away from that kind of talk.

But with the help of the loudest crowd of the season at the Lloyd Noble Center, the Sooners did, in fact, play their best game of the season.

But the problem was Baylor was just a bit better.

The Sooners never led, but closed to within two points twice in the second half, before eventually falling to the No. 6-ranked Bears 77-65.

"We have to do something," guard Steven Pledger said. "We have to get that one extra rebound. We're one more step away from everything."

It looked like the Sooners were going to take a leap Tuesday as they pulled to within a point early in the second half at 39-38, but Baylor then went on a 15-3 run and led by 13 with just more than 14 minutes to play. Still, the Sooners rallied again, getting to within two points again at 62-60 with 4:32 to play, but Baylor finished the game on a 13-5 run and OU never got within six the rest of the game.

"We made two or three runs, and I like what our guys are doing," Kruger said. "Yet, we have to figure out ways to get some stops. Baylor is very good, but we have to figure out a way to get some stops. No one is happy with coming close.''

Steven Pledger had 17 points, Romero Osby had three dunks in the second half and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Fitzgerald had 13 points for OU. The Sooners fell to 12-7 overall and 2-5 in the Big 12 Conference.

OU had decent showings in a home loss to Kansas and a home win against Kansas State, but the Sooners hadn't seen a team with the firepower of Baylor, which had four players finish in double figures and shoot 54 percent for the game. Nineteen NBA scouts from 12 teams showed up to see an impressive Baylor team that features Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Perry Jones. Jones had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Baylor started the game making five of its first six 3-pointers and finished 9-of-18. Baylor ended its two-game losing streak and improved to 18-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference.

And with all of that, the Sooners still were right there in the second half.

"When you got a team as talented as they are, you can't give them second chances," Osby said. "At the end of the day, they have athletes and a lot of shooters. You can't give them anything. They did a good job of finding ways to score. I feel like we're making progress. Moral victories are something we don't want. We want to start making this progress now."

OU is back in action Saturday at Kansas State. OU doesn't play at home until Feb. 4 when Iowa State comes to the Lloyd Noble Center for a 5 p.m. start.

"Coach Kruger is starting to put his stamp on the team," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "This is a team that competes every play. They play hard."



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