The Sooners outscored the Cowboys 47-27 over the last 24:24 of Saturday night’s Bedlam showdown en route to a 64-56 victory in front of a crowd of nearly 13,000 – the largest of the 2014-15 season – inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
OU improves to 14-7 overall and more importantly 5-4 in Big 12 play. OSU drops to 14-7 and 4-5 in the conference standings. The Sooners have now won the last four Bedlam games and six of the last seven over the Cowboys.
“It’s all about winning. It’s all about going and trying to get the next one,” OSU head coach Travis Ford said after the loss. “It doesn’t do any good for us, as I told the guys, to hold your heads down. A lot of heads were down (in the locker room) but it doesn’t do any good. You’ve got to move on and try to get the next one.
“It doesn’t matter what your record is behind you, it matters what you do in front of you. Plain and simple. Period. It doesn't do any good to what-if, shoulda, woulda, coulda. That doesn’t get you anywhere. Whatever our record is doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do (going) forward. That’s the name of the game.
“There are a lot of great teams that were top 10 teams, top 15 in the preseason that have different records in this league. We’re a team that wasn’t a whole lot expected out of us, so we’re right in the middle of things. We’d love to be sitting here 9-0 in the league but we’re not, so you’ve just got to move forward. We’re still in the thick of things.”
For the first 16 minutes, even with the Big 12’s third-leading scorer in Le’Bryan Nash spending most of that time on the bench with two fouls, the Cowboys appeared to be the team ready to take a winning conference record into the second half of Big 12 play.
Michael Cobbins slam dunk on a nice feed from Tyree Griffin gave the Cowboys a 29-17 lead with 4:24 remaining in the first half. But that was OSU’s last field goal of the first half, and the Sooners pulled within 32-25 at halftime.
OU dominated the second half, outscoring the Cowboys 39-24, en route to the victory.
“The game flip-flopped. We were the aggressor in the first half, they were the aggressor the second half,” Ford said. “OU feeds off transition points. We talked about that for two days. If you take them out of transition, you’ve got a great chance to win the game, but when you give up 24 points off turnovers and 16 second-chance points you’re not going to win. I don’t care who it is, but especially a team (like OU) that’s what they fuel themselves off of.”
The Sooners had four players score in double figures, including the backcourt duo of Jordan Woodard (17 points) and Buddy Hield (15), who each scored 12 in the second half. Ryan Spangler added 13 points, 9 rebounds and a career-high 6 assists, while TaShawn Thomas contributed 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Phil Forte led the Cowboys with 15 points but the Sooners limited him to just seven shots and forced him into committing a season-high five turnovers. Nash finished with 12 points, but he had four turnovers. Anthony Hickey was the only other Cowboy in double figures with 10 points, while adding 8 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist.
"Give them credit. They took us out of our offense. We made some careless mistakes on offense and defense and that led to some easy baskets for them and got them a little momentum,” Forte said.
OU head coach Lon Kruger said, “I thought (Oklahoma State) was quicker to loose balls in the first half, they hurt us on the boards and I thought that they were dictating most of the first 20 minutes. We made a little spurt there in the second half, and I thought our activity picked up and Ryan (Spangler) was great in his battle tonight.
“There were different guys at different times. Buddy (Hield) had a good run and got us going, I thought Jordan (Woodard) had a good run, and TaShawn (Thomas) was good on the boards. It was a shared effort by a lot of guys on the road and I'm proud of it. It's not easy to do that on the road against a good ball club like (Oklahoma State). It was a good win.”
The Cowboys saw the lead slip away early in the second half when the Sooners went on an 8-0 run, but they rallied to regain the lead 43-42 on Tavarius Shine’s three-pointer from the corner with a little more than 13 minutes to play. But OU would win going away by outscoring the Cowboys 22-13 the remainder of the game.
"We had all the energy in the first half and they had all of the energy in the second half. They are a much better scoring team than we are,” Ford said. “We couldn't take advantage of (the strong start) in the first half, because we don't have enough scoring options. They took more advantage of getting second shots and steals in the second half.”
The Cowboys begin the second half of the Big 12 schedule on Wednesday night when they go on the road to face No. 19 Texas. Forte and Nash each scored 20 points and Hickey contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in OSU’s 69-58 win over Texas on Jan. 10 in Stillwater.