The Inside Slant (1-11-10)

Maybe the amenities of the locker room aren't as important as the instruction offered inside it. Before the start of Big 12 play, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel booted the Sooners from their normal digs because they were undeserving of such appointments.


Maybe the amenities of the locker room aren't as important as the instruction offered inside it.
Before the start of Big 12 play, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel booted the Sooners from their normal digs because they were undeserving of such appointments.

"I'm looking for a lot of stuff, how we approach things, how we practice, attention to detail and stuff," Capel said. "It's about doing things the right way and conducting ourselves the right way and having pride in what we do."

After a 91-60 trouncing at Baylor, however, it might be time to cut back on the motivational ploys and figure out some real solutions. Although it was the Big 12 opener, the defeat was a sign Oklahoma (9-6) may be bottoming out considering a 30-game win streak against Baylor, which dated to 1977, was snapped.

The Sooners even grabbed a 20-11 advantage before the Bears closed the half with a 30-6 spurt and grabbed a 41-26 halftime lead. Oklahoma never recovered, allowing Baylor to shoot 58.6 percent from the field.

"That's been who we've been, unfortunately, this year," Capel said. "We'll be right there, and things will be going well, and all of a sudden the momentum changes a little bit and we can't get out of it."

It's not as if Capel doesn't know how to push buttons. The locker room eviction is proof of that, as well as two time outs he called over a five-minute scoreless stretch when Baylor overtook Oklahoma.

Right now, the Sooners aren't responding. In time they could. Talent exists. But leaders must step forward and newcomers must adapt if the Sooners are to compete favorably in the Big 12 after suffering a quick blowout in league play.


--Credit F Andrew Fitzgerald for overcoming a delay that could have proved unsettling at the free throw line. About two-thirds of the lights in the Ferrell Center went out, causing a free throw Fitzgerald made to be waved off with 13:12 left in the first half of a Jan. 9 loss against Baylor. When play resumed about eight minutes later, Fitzgerald connected again, though the lighting was still not fully restored.

--Oklahoma is accustomed to pageantry. F Beau Gerber's sister, Bethany, was recently named Miss Kansas. She is from Winfield and previously dated former Sooner Blake Griffin. In addition, G Cade Davis' girlfriend, Morgan Woolard, was recently named Miss Oklahoma.

ON THE SPOT: F Tiny Gallon, one of the highly-touted freshmen Oklahoma introduced to its starting lineup this season, is beginning to emerge. He led the Sooners with 17 points and five rebounds at Baylor, giving him 30 points and 17 boards over a two-game stretch. Gallon is the Sooners' only consistent inside threat, which he could find a bit overwhelming when confronted by tough Big 12 defenders. The good news is Baylor C Ekpe Udoh is one of the top interior defenders in the league and Gallon held his own.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's taken the locker room away from us because we're not playing like an Oklahoma team, so we don't deserve to be in the Oklahoma locker room." -- Oklahoma G Willie Warren on an eviction served by coach Jeff Capel, who also stipulated the Sooners don't wear any Oklahoma gear at practice.


The loss of national player of the year Blake Griffin figured to be hard on the Sooners because of the forward's ability to create and make shots, as well as his presence on the boards. Oklahoma has not yet recovered during a 9-6 start, which included a 31-point loss at Baylor to open Big 12 play. That snapped a 30-game winning streak against the Bears. Chances for a recovery are beginning to look bleak, especially if Oklahoma cannot improve on the worst defensive scoring average (71.4) in the conference.

Usual Starters -- F Tiny Gallon, G Tony Crocker, G Willie Warren, G Cade Davis, G Tommy Mason-Griffin. Key Subs -- F Andrew Fitzgerald, G Steven Pledger, F Ryan Wright.

Gonzaga 83, Oklahoma 69
Oklahoma 88, Maryland-Eastern Shore 54
Baylor 91, Oklahoma 60
vs. Oklahoma State, Monday, Jan. 11.
vs. Missouri, Saturday, Jan. 16.
at Texas A&M, Tuesday, Jan. 19.
at Texas Tech, Saturday, Jan. 23.
vs. Iowa State, Wednesday, Jan. 27.

IN FOCUS: Home games must offer a better outlook for the Sooners after they were blistered at Baylor. This is also the place, however, where the Sooners were not allowed in their locker room after the defeat at Gonzaga. Oklahoma State is continuing to blend talented newcomers with productive veterans. Missouri is coming off an impressive victory against Kansas State.


--G Tommy Mason-Griffin was held out of the first half at Baylor. Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel did not elaborate on the situation, calling it a "coach's decision." Mason-Griffin entered 20 seconds into the second half on the first dead ball and played 18 minutes.

--G Steven Pledger did not travel with the team to Baylor after going to Philadelphia earlier in the week following the death of his grandfather. He arrived about three hours before tipoff and played 15 minutes.

--G Tony Crocker had five double-doubles over a nine-game stretch ending with the Baylor loss. He scored 16 points against the Bears and led the Sooners with five assists.

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