Sooners Almost Stumble in Win

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners able to squeak past Northern Colorado by one point, 80-79, on Saturday afternoon.

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"Let's go! Let's go! Let's go!"

When freshman guard Tommy Mason-Griffin turned the ball over in the middle stages of the first half with the Sooners leading by one, those were the words OU head coach Jeff Capel preached to his team.

But they never really put those words into play Saturday, although they narrowly escaped with an 80-79 victory over the Northern Colorado Bears.

"I'm pleased that we won; we didn't deserve to," Capel said. "They outplayed us, outcoached us, outworked us, out-efforted us, and everything, so I'm very disappointed in that. That's not taking anything away from Northern Colorado because they did it to us."

Instead, at the time Capel screamed for the Sooners to get it in gear, it was Northern Colorado that went ahead, surging on a 17-5 run to take an 11-point lead at 38-27 with just less than three minutes to go in the first half.

But junior guard Cade Davis brought the Sooners back into the game by himself, hitting threes on three straight possessions, and OU managed to get back within one by the break.

"I think a lot of it has to do with our defense also," Davis said. "We weren't playing very good defense. They were getting whatever they wanted to, and, I mean, we were just being lazy on the defensive end. And when we play good defense, we get our offense going."

After that stretch, the Sooners took the lead early in the second half and held on, narrowly escaping with a win although they couldn't ever put Northern Colorado away.

It seemed like OU might finally have control of the game when senior forward Ryan Wright flushed a pair of dunks midway through the second half to put the Sooners up 10.

But Northern Colorado scored on consecutive possessions, cutting the deficit in half.

Ultimately, poor free throw shooting and turnovers allowed the Bears to cut it to one with six seconds left, when OU missed a free throw.

But Davis came up with a steal that sealed the deal.

"I am pleased that we made enough plays to get the lead and that we were able to hold on down the stretch with the lead although everything we did was wrong," Capel said.

If it was Davis' first half with 20 points, it was senior guard Tony Crocker's second half, as he racked up 16 points in the second on 6-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-6 from behind the arc.

Davis had a game-high 25 points, while Crocker had 24, and sophomore guard Willie Warren, who posted 27 in his previous game, netted only four on 2-for-6 shooting.

For Northern Colorado, there were four players in double figures, with junior guard Devon Beitzel leading the way with 17.

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