Skid Stops at Five

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners withstood a monster Gardner Webb run that saw OU's lead cut from 19 to only four in the second half, and they held on to defeat the Bulldogs 71-58 in front of 3,607 Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"Well, it's good to get a win," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "I thought we did some good things in this game."

OU was able to sneak out to that huge advantage thanks in large part to just some poor shooting from the field by Gardner Webb.

For majority of the first half, the Sooners bothered the Bulldogs into shooting in the mid-20s from the floor, although they managed to finish at 31.8 percent after the first 20 minutes.

"I thought our defense in the first half was very good," Capel said. "We switched it up several times and tried to give them different looks and keep them off balance."

In the meantime, OU shot a healthy 52.2 percent as it leaped out to a 34-18 intermission advantage.

But Gardner Webb responded early in the second half, fueled by a buzzer beating three-pointer at the end of the first half that seemingly swung the momentum in the contest.

The Bulldogs used a 19-7 run to pull within four points midway through the second half.

"I was a little disappointed with how we started out the second half defensively," Capel said. "I thought we had an opportunity to really expand that lead."

But that's where OU put the clamp down.

Forward Andrew Fitzgerald capped off an and-one play, and guard Cameron Clark hit a layup a play later that moved the lead back out to nine.

"[My mindset was] just like fighting to get position really, trying to make it easier for the guards to pass it into me," Fitzgerald said.

Gardner Webb kept it close, but it never could really get in realistic distance of making the final push to take the lead.

The Sooners led this one from the get-go, as there were no ties and no lead changes.

Guard Steven Pledger led the way for OU with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while Fitzgerald (16), guard Cade Davis (15) and Clark (13) all finished in double figures as well.

Guard Jon Moore was the high-point man with 12 in the Bulldogs' losing effort.

OU next takes on Oral Roberts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.

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