No. 17 Gonzaga way too much for OU in Old Spice Classic
BY Staff Reports
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 6:52 AM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Oklahoma stepped up in class Friday night in the Old Spice Classic semifinals. It did not go well.
Elias Harris overpowered the Sooners with 18 points as No. 17 Gonzaga never trailed in rolling to a 72-47 victory.
OU's Romero Osby scored 13 points and Isaiah Cousins 10 as the Sooners dropped to 3-1 and into Sunday's 3:30 p.m. third-place game against West Virginia.
OU opened the season with wins over Louisiana-Monroe, Texas-Arlington and UTEP. Gonzaga was a stronger, more efficient opponent, and it showed.
The Zags dominated inside, outrebounding OU 51-24, and got a strong game from Harris, their 6-8, 240-pound honors candidate. Harris' biggest impact was in the first four minutes of the second half, when Gonzaga turned a 32-25 lead into 45-28.
He answered Amath M'Baye's three-point-play with one of his own, attacking M'Baye and muscling in a shot to make it 35-25. He followed teammate Gary Bell's 3-pointer with one of his own to build the lead to 41-25. He dunked off a teammate's missed shot for 43-25. And he scored again after Cousins' 3 had cut it to 43-28.
The Sooners were never in the game after that, and wound up on the wrong side of a blowout.
"I thought our activity in the first half was really good," coach Lon Kruger said during his postgame radio interview. "We opened the second half for a short period OK. Then we started playing behind in the post, stopped attacking the ball screens and didn't dictate anything from that point on.
"We've got to learn from it. Gonzaga is a terrific ballclub. We realize we have to do a lot of things better to play at that level."
OU fell behind 18-11 over the first 11 minutes while shooting 3-of-18. When the Sooners finally showed some life offensively, on baskets by Osby, Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald, they were able to pull within 20-17.
Osby hit a pair of free throws with 2:41 remaining before halftime, making it 25-21. But then Gonzaga spurted to take a 32-22 lead into the dressing room.