NORMAN, Okla. – The sting is tough right now for Oklahoma basketball. It’s not getting any easier as OU is seemingly finding more excruciating ways to lose down the stretch.
The latest was in Bedlam in a 68-66 loss to visiting Oklahoma State as the Cowboys overcame a 66-62 deficit to win for the first in Norman since 2004 on Monday evening.
“Tough, tough finish,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Again, I guess. I thought the guys fought like crazy to get back in position to win the ballgame. I thought O-State did a good job there to open up the margin.
“Our guys fought back to put themselves in position to win. Didn’t make the plays that we got to make down the stretch. O-State did. They made shots, made a steal. Gotta grow through it. Gotta keep working at it. These guys will. Gotta have more grit at the finish there.”
OSU’s Phil Forte hit the game-winning three-pointer with just under 10 seconds to play. OU freshman Kameron McGusty’s attempt to win was knocked away at the buzzer.
Midway through the second half, it didn’t appear as if there was going to be any drama. OSU led 53-43 with under 12 minutes left when OU woke up.
Led by Dante Buford, who came off the bench with 11 points, the Sooners erased the 10-point deficit to take the lead at 66-62.
But as has been the case too many times than not this season, OU couldn’t persevere and hold onto the victory in the end.
Buford missed two free throws. McGusty had a turnover. Woodard turned the ball over with the 66-65 that ultimately led to Forte’s clutch shot.
There were a lot of good things for OU, just hard to put a positive spin on it after losing the fourth game in a row and the third game in a row in conference with a two-possession lead in the final minutes.
McGusty continues to make his imprint, scoring 22 points, and Jordan Woodard hit some timely shots in the second half.
But once again ball movement was a factor with OU having seven assists against 12 turnovers and shooting a mediocre 15-23 from the free throw line.
At 8-13 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12, the second half of the conference season gets underway Saturday at Texas Tech. No idea what is left in the tank for Kruger’s crew after how the first half went.