NORMAN, Okla. – It finally came together for Oklahoma, and it led to a special scene for head coach Lon Kruger.
In a season full of near-misses, the Sooners were all smiles Saturday in an 81-51 victory against visiting Kansas State. The win is career No. 600 for Kruger.
So many games have been full of drama and heartbreak for OU this season, but the Sooners were in total command the entire way, posting their first 20-point lead in conference play at 51-31 with 12 minutes remaining and never looking back.
Junior Khadeem Lattin led a total team effort with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks as OU had three players score in double figures.
"Since I’ve been in a few more battles than anyone else on the team, I’m just really happy that we were able to get Coach Kruger his 600th win. That’s a big milestone," Lattin said.
Sophomore Rashard Odomes added 16 points and six rebounds, while freshman point guard Jordan Shepherd continued his development with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Kruger becomes the 33rd coach in NCAA history to record 600 wins as OU improved to 10-18 overall and 4-12 in the Big 12. By virtue of a tie-breaker with Texas, the Sooners have jumped the Longhorns to ninth place in the conference.
OU has felt like a snake-bitten team with six of its 12 conference losses by six points or fewer, and Saturday’s victory marked OU’s first double-digit win in conference play.
OU's 20-point margin was cut down to 12 points before the Sooners were able to learn from previous mistakes and put the game away with a 12-0 run.
The Sooners continued their stellar defensive play from the second half at Baylor. KSU shot 25 percent from the field for the game. OU, despite shooting 32 percent from the floor in the first half, led 33-20 at halftime before shooting 57 percent in the second half.
OU finishes the regular season next week, beginning with a trip to Lawrence to take on Kansas for its final Big Monday matchup.
Kruger has earned 121 of those 600 wins at OU. The rest are as follows:
*Pan-American – 52 wins
*Kansas State – 81 wins
*Florida – 104 wins
*Illinois – 81 wins
*UNLV – 161 wins
*OU – 121 wins
"You think about how happy you are for the guys to get this one," said Kruger about win No. 600. "It’s been a year in which it’s been a grind and they’ve hung in there and they’ve continued to work at it and they’ve continued to get better. That’s not easy to do when you are not getting positive results."