Sooners Fall Short Against Kansas

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners hung with the Kansas Jayhawks for a while, but in the end, the 14th ranked team in the country was just too much for them in a 72-61 defeat in front of 9,415 Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

"Better balance today," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "We have got to keep making progress. Credit Kansas, another really good club. Bill [Self] did a really great job as always. The first half we battled them pretty good. Second half we opened it pretty careless with the ball, which gave them a little margin."

Because of that, they could not build on a 34-33 halftime lead, and instead, it was the Jayhawks who used a massive surge out of the intermission gates to snare a huge lead.

Kansas scored the second half's first seven points, part of a 29-6 surge that left OU down 22 points with 8:41 remaining.

"I thought that the 10 minutes, or whatever it was, to start the second half was probably the best run we've had all year," said Kansas head coach Bill Self. "I thought our defense was active and we got our hands on balls and we were able to get out in transition."

In the meantime, as Kruger said, OU couldn't take care of the ball.

And they couldn't shoot the rock after making nearly 50 percent of their jumpers in the opening 20 minutes.

OU shot just 38 percent in the final 20 minutes.

"I think we came out kind of flat on both ends of the court," said OU forward Romero Osby. "We made a couple of costly turnovers. Like Coach said, they equal points on the other end for them. So, I think that's really where it started. Like Coach said, defensively we weren't as active as we were in the first half. We just have to do a better job."

On the contrary, Kansas managed a ridiculous 60 percent in the second half en route to running away with this one.

A lot of that came on easy buckets.

"Not only did we turn it over, but we turned it over with them shooting layups, which is the worst of both worlds, of course," Kruger said.

The two-headed monster of guard Travis Releford and forward Thomas Robinson made them pay for most of those and led the way with 28 and 18 points, respectively, for the Jayhawks.

Guard Steven Pledger, who had just two points in the second half, guided OU with 14 points, while guard Carl Blair and forward Andrew Fitzgerald also finished in double figures with 11 each.

The teams tied with 34 boards apiece, but the Jayhawks outscored the Sooners 48-16 in the paint and 16-2 on fast break points.

OU and Kansas traded the lead nine times--all but one in the first half--and the Sooners had their largest advantage at 10-5 early in the contest.

After Kansas took the lead early in the second half, OU never led again.

"It's frustrating because you'd at least like to line up and attack and give yourself a chance," Kruger said. "The way we turned it over to start the second half put us in a little bit of a deficit."

The Sooners will try to regroup quickly with a 6 p.m. Monday Bedlam contest in Stillwater looming, while Kansas heads to Texas Tech Wednesday.

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