Sooners don't let this one slip away

Oklahoma blew a double-digit lead Sunday at Kansas, but it wasn't going to happen again Wednesday night in Stillwater. The Sooners built a 18-point second half lead and held for their first win at in six seasons at OSU, 73-65. (AP/Photo)

Oklahoma blew a double-digit lead Sunday at Kansas, but it wasn't going to happen again Wednesday night in Stillwater.

Terrell Everett led the way with 23 points as the 20th-ranked Sooners built a 18-point second half lead and held on late for a 73-65 victory over the Cowboys.

It was Oklahoma's first win in Gallagher-Iba since the 2000 season, and the Sooners did it with defense holding the Cowboys to a season-low 17 first-half points en route to a 26-17 halftime lead.

"I thought our defense was excellent. The more we watched tape the more we felt like we could match up with them man-to-man," said Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Sooners held the Cowboys to made field goals on 18 attempts in the first half.

The second half was a different story. Oklahoma built a 52-34 lead with 6:33 left, but the Cowboys finally heated up scoring 29 points in the final six minutes. However, they never got closer than 69-64 with 38 seconds left as Oklahoma the kept attacking the basket, despite their lead.

"We played to win," Sampson said. "There was no backing down. When you get to the three minute mark you want to run some clock. We did that tonight, but we also got to the foul line. One big difference between tonight versus Sunday (against Kansas) was we got to the foul line."

In all, OU shot a blistering 70 percent in the final 20 minutes (14-for-20) while also hitting 16 of their 19 free throw attempts in the second half.

For the game, the Sooners shot 52.2 percent from the field, while the Cowboys, who came into the game leading the conference in field goal percentage, finished at 40.8 percent. It was the Cowboys second-worst shooting performance of the season. Oklahoma also outrebounded the Cowboys 33-28.

Leading the way for the Sooners on the boards was freshman Taylor Griffin. Griffin got his opportunity when Taj Gray picked up his third foul early in the second half, and the freshman didn't disappoint. He also added a career-high 10 points, as well as three clutch free throws down the stretch.

"I thought the best thing Taylor did tonight was play like a veteran," said Sampson. "Not a lot of people talk about him. He was a freshman that flew under the radar. I didn't see a lot of stuff written about Taylor Griffin, but I'd rather have a kid that does it on the court, and he certainly is."

In addition to Everett and Griffin, Kevin Bookout and Michael Neal also added double figures. Bookout, who played 36 minutes, finished with 13 while Neal chipped in 12 off the bench in 31 minutes.

Everett also grabbed five rebounds and played an excellent floor game with five assists against just two turnovers.

"I think we're just getting better," said Sampson, whose team improved to 15-5 overall and took over sole possession of third place in the Big 12 standings at 6-3. "It's a shame that we lost the game on Sunday, but that's adversity. Nobody pointed fingers, nobody sat around and moped or felt sorry for anybody. We just said we've got another game Wednesday and we'll find out what we're made of. And we found out a lot about these young men that we have tonight. I just liked our toughness."

The Sooners now hold a 120-87 edge over the Cowboys in the all-time series.

Oklahoma will host Baylor this Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

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