Unsung heroes lead OU to win over No. 8 Kansas

Kansas forward Wayne Simien, center, is closely guarded by Oklahoma forwards Taj Gray, right, and Kevin Bookout, left, in the first half of the Sooners' 71-63 win Monday night in Norman. Gray and Bookout combined for just 11 points, but it was freshman David Godbold, junior Terrell Everett and senior Johnnie Gilbert who picked up the slack combining for 46 points. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN — This time last season David Godbold didn't have an offer from a single Divsion 1 program to play college basketball. What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months later, Oklahoma's walk-on turned scholarship true freshman proved he belonged in the Sooners' 71-63 upset win over No. 8 Kansas Monday night in Norman.

Godbold, a 6-foot-5 guard from Douglass High School in Oklahoma City who came into the Kansas game averaging just 3.4 points, scored a career-high 15 points and added seven rebounds, two steals and one block in a season-high 37 minutes of action.

"He has no fear," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Sooners recorded their eighth straight 20-win season with the win. "He steps up and makes shots. He's not a kid that just makes three's. He's a kid that can get to the foul line and get to the basket. He can create plays. He's a tough kid."

With Kansas' putting the clamps on Oklahoma's inside duo of Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray, Godbold stepped up big scoring nine first-half points to help OU lead by as many as 19 and eventually take a 37-22 halftime lead.

Kansas came out on fire in the second half with a 26-12 run that cut the Sooners' lead to 49-48 with 7:38 to go. But the Sooners responded with a 13-6 run, capped by a tough offensive rebound and putback by Godbold, over the next seven minutes and two seconds to push the lead back to eight (60-52).

"They came back on us, and we knew they would," Sampson said on KU's run to start the second half. "Good teams are going to come back on you. We drew a line in the sand and took a stand right there and said we're not losing this thing."

From that point on, the Jayhawks wouldn't get any closer than 67-63 with 20 seconds left after a Keith Langford layup. The Sooners, who had struggled from the free throw line for most of the game, hit six consecutive free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.

"We were horrible in the first half, and OU was really good defensively," said Kansas head coach Bill Self. "They played with great energy, and they did a great job defensively of not letting the ball get in tight. We did a bad job of driving it and creating help. It was just pitiful all the way around. But their defense had a lot to do with it. In the second half, we just played small and tried to spread the floor and drive it."

Gray and Bookout, who came into the game averaging a combined 27.5 points and 15 rebounds, finished with a combined 11 points and six boards. However, picking up the slack for Gray and Bookout was another unsung hero — senior forward Johnnie Gilbert.

Gilbert came off the bench, mostly in the place of Gray, to score a career-high 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals in 30 minutes.

Sampson said he chose to go with Gilbert in the second half because of his decision to switch to a zone defense.

"Our man-to-man was great the first half," said Sampson. "I said let's stay with this man as long as we can. But Keith Langford, who I think is as good a driver as there is college basketball, we just couldn't keep him in front of us to start the second half. So, we went back to the zone and that's where Johnnie became important."

Also not to be forgotten is junior guard Terrell Everett. All Everett did was lead the Sooners with 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The Charleston, S.C. native also scored six of OU's last 10 points, including four clutch free throws in the final minute.

"We don't have a great team, but we're pretty good," said Sampson. "We're good enough to beat you. There's a lot of better teams, but if you look at our team our sum is far greater than our parts. I think that's what makes us special.

"Kansas is a great team. Bill (Self) does such a good job with that group. Those kids are coming off two heartbreaking losses, but I still think they're a great team. They're going to still win a lot of games."

With the win, Oklahoma improved to 9-4 in Big 12 play and 20-6 overall. Kansas drops into second place in Big 12 play at 10-3 and 20-4 overall. The loss was the third straight for the Jayhawks this season, and the fourth in their last six meetings against OU.

Up next for the Sooners is senior day on Saturday against Baylor. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m.

OU-Kansas Box Score


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