NORMAN, Okla. – It was senior day for Oklahoma, but the stars for the Sooners are definitely the freshmen and letting everybody know the future is bright in Norman.
Kameron McGusty and Kristian Doolittle paved the way for OU in a 73-68 victory against TCU to close out the Big 12 regular season.
The Sooners, 11-19 overall and 5-13 in conference play, will rematch the Frogs at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.
"Big-time battle," head coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought guys on both teams fought really hard for 40 minutes, as they’ve been doing all year long. Jamie Dixon has done a fantastic job in getting these guys going and playing at a high level. I’m very proud of our guys. We fought and battled for 40 minutes. We made some big plays late to get in the right column – something we may have not done a month ago – but they did tonight. I’m really happy for them."
There have been a number of games like Saturday vs. the Horned Frogs. OU was up 61-59 heading into the final media timeout. Instead of crumbling down the stretch, it was a trio of freshmen in McGusty, Doolittle and Jordan Shepherd making sure things ended on a high note.
OU was 17-of-22 from the free throw line, but that trio was 14-of-15 with the lone miss coming by Doolittle with 2.1 seconds to go and the game already iced.
"We’ve been there before," McGusty said. "We weren’t going to slip up this time. We knew we had the experience. We were locked in. I felt like I had a lot of confidence. The team had a lot of confidence. We gave off that positive vibe and knew we were going to win that game"
McGusty tied his career high 22 with points, while Doolittle had 19 points and 13 rebounds as once again the LNC crowd got a taste of what’s to come in 2017-18.
Junior Khadeem Lattin continued his improved play down the stretch with an all-around effort of seven points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and two steals.
OU came out strong in the second half in taking a nine-point lead, but TCU rallied to earn a 55-49 advantage midway through the half.
OU’s defense tightened up down the stretch as TCU was unable to find any offensive rhythm in the final eight minutes of the game.
Before the game, OU seniors Jordan Woodard, C.J. Cole and Daniel Harper were all honored as was coach Lon Kruger for earning career win No. 600 last weekend.