Sooners Advance to 76 Classic Final

The Sooners built a huge lead and withstood a monstrous Santa Clara run, as they defeated the Broncos 85-73 Friday night in Anaheim.

And this time, it was behind an explosive offensive performance from guard Steven Pledger, who led the Sooners with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range.

OU leapt out to an early 4-0 lead and trailed just once in the contest, at 5-4, as it secured its fourth straight victory to open up the 2011 season.

Just more than nine minutes in, the Sooners opened up a double-digit lead.

It only expanded from there.

A 20-0 run that lasted from the 5:11 mark of the first half until the first minute of the second half allowed the Sooners to go up by 25 points, when they had a 44-19 advantage.

However, the Broncos methodically worked their way back into it.

By the eight-minute media timeout, OU still led by 18, and at the four-minute media timeout, it had a 14-point advantage.

That's Santa Clara closed to within six at 79-73 in the final four minutes.

But six straight Sooner free throws allowed OU to close out with an impressive 12-point victory.

Along with Pledger, three other Sooners finished in double figures, including point guard Sam Grooms, forward Andrew Fitzgerald and guard Cameron Clark, who had 12, 12 and 11, respectively.

Santa Clara's Evan Roquemore led all scorers with 27, while guard Kevin Foster added 19 and forward Raymond Cowels III had 11.

Fitzgerald was a horse in the paint, tying his career-high of 13 rebounds and good for a double-double, and forward Romero Osby also had 10 boards.

The Sooners will face Saint Louis in the Championship Round at 8 p.m. CT Sunday.

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