Osby Powers OU to Senior Day Victory Over A&M

NORMAN, Okla. — For the fourth straight game, the Sooners led at halftime, and for the 14th consecutive contest, they were outscored by their opponent in the second half, but this time they still held on to defeat Texas A&M 65-62 in the last ever Big 12 regular season meeting between the two Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

Again, it certainly wasn't easy for head coach Lon Kruger and his club.

After trailing by 14 early in the second half, the Aggies trimmed the lead all the way down to one twice, but the Sooners were still able to keep them from completely climbing the ladder.

That was in large part because of the junior forward Romero Osby, who played like a senior monster on this day with his game-high 24 points.

"Coach gave me confidence on being more aggressive and getting low and strong," Osby said. "My teammates are doing a good job of encouraging me to score and stuff like that. When you have support and stuff like that, sometimes it just takes over to where you can play at any type of level. I am just blessed to have people around me to encourage me to do better offensively."

His final bucket on a nicely designed play put OU up three with 35 seconds to play.

"Drew did a nice job of looking to pin down on the outside of the lane for Roe," Kruger said. "Roe was very patient in waiting and [Steven] Pledger set a good screen across the lane for Roe. Sam [Grooms] then made a nice pass and Roe finished it. A lot of good execution right there with details."

After the Aggies cut it to one again at 63-62, Grooms polished it off with two free throws.

Those came after some controversy, though.

It appeared Pledger dribbled the ball off his foot moments earlier, but none of the officials caught a good angle of the play and a jump ball was called.

OU called time and, on the ensuing play, inbounded it to Grooms, who was fouled.

"We thought it went out on them, but I wasn't real pleased with the officiating most of the game," said Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy. "But you have to put yourself in situations where one possession isn't that big. Unfortunately it was a big possession."

Plenty of other good possessions on the other side for the Sooners allowed them to build that sizable double digit lead.

Forward Cameron Clark, who scored nine points and snatched nine boards, played a part in that as well as Osby.

"Coach says that our guards need to rebound," Clark said. "We are not that big down low, so all the guards have to help. So, that is what I have been trying to do."

Grooms silently put together another solid outing, too, dishing out seven assists to two turnovers in 33 minutes in addition to playing Mr. Clutch down the stretch.

"I know I haven't shot it well on the year, but just confidence," Grooms said. "I've been in the gym day after day shooting before practice and after practice, just building confidence in what I do."

Fitzgerald finished as the second Sooner in double figures with his 10.

Forward David Loubeau guided four Aggies in double figures with his 15, and forward Khris Middleton, guard Elston Turner and forward Ray Turnver had 14, 11 and 10, respectively.

OU held a 33-26 advantage at intermission and never trailed after that.

In fact, it led the final 25:54 of the contest.

The two teams will now play a rematch at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., with OU serving as the home team.

"It's a little interesting," Kruger said. "It's the same for both teams. It seems like that happens kind of frequently with your last opponent, where you have to turn around and play the same one again to open conference tournament play."

The last time OU did so was back in 2009 when it defeated Bedlam rival Oklahoma State 82-78 in the regular season finale then dropped the Big 12 Tourney opener to that same squad 71-70.

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