"First and foremost, I want to thank our fans for making it out in the bad weather that we've had," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "I want to thank all the people at OU for getting the arena ready, parking lot and just making it possible for us to play. I am very proud of our team. I thought we beat a very talented Baylor team today."
And they did it in comeback fashion.
Trailing 50-43 early in the second half, the Sooners turned up the tempo offensively and stifled the Bears defensively, using a 24-3 spurt to switch that seven point deficit into a 14-point lead.
"I think we realized that we had to buckle down," said point guard Carl Blair, who finished with 19 points. "In order to get the run, we had to get stops. We played great defense. We felt that if we run our stuff on the offensive end we'll score, as long as we don't turn over the ball and keep the ball moving. The main thing in that little run is we just played defense."
In fact, from the 15:57 mark of the second half all the way until there was only 4:33 remaining, BU managed only three points.
"I thought our defense in the second half was very good," Capel said. "I thought we had a really good awareness all game long. I thought Steven [Pledger] did a really good job. I thought our team defense did a really good job. We did a really good job of blocking out. That was a key point of emphasis for us."
It certainly must have been because they won the rebounding battle 33-29 after losing it in each of their first six Big 12 outings."To outrebound this big, gigantic, athletic and long team speaks volumes about how far we have come," Capel said.
Just where they have come from was an 0-3 start and 11th place to now one game over .500 in the conference at 4-3 and tied in that third spot with Texas A&M.
That turnaround has to be very satisfying, considering most everyone was writing them off four games ago and doubting the Sooners would win more than three games the rest of the season.
"I've really enjoyed coaching this team," Capel said. "Especially the past two weeks, just seeing how much better we have gotten and watching our guys grow and watching them believe in each other and themselves."
And it appeared for a large part of this game, that another loss was in the cards.
Baylor leapt out to a 39-34 halftime advantage and led by as much as seven with 1:16 left in the first half.
The Bears shot 53.3 percent to 48.1 percent for the Sooners.
And they dominated OU in the paint 20-10.
But that changed in the final 20 minutes, as OU limited Baylor to 40 percent from the field and scored 15 points off eight turnovers compared to just six points off equal as many turnovers in the first half.
Guard Cameron Clark had a game-high 25 points to go along with seven rebounds.
"I was looking forward to this game," Clark said. "We were supposed to play yesterday, and we didn't get to play. We were just ready for this game. My teammates got me open, and I knocked down shots."
Blair distributed seven rebounds and also brought down five boards to go along with his 19.
Four managed doubles for Baylor, with forward Perry Jones III leading the way with his 19.
OU next faces off against Oklahoma State in Bedlam at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater.
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