OU basketball notebook: Looking ahead
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 6:16 AM
Related Story: Improved depth boosts OU past Texas Tech
The Sooners didn't take long to put Wednesday's 81-63 victory over Texas Tech behind them. Next on their schedule is Saturday's trip to Kansas State.
The Wildcats won at TCU on Wednesday night, meaning both K-State and OU come into Saturday's game 3-0 in the Big 12 Conference.
"Kansas State is a very good, high-ranked (No. 16) team. They are playing very well," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "They have a great atmosphere. Coach (Bruce) Weber has done a great job with the group. Tough game. The guys know that.
"We are going to have to continue to play better. Our challenge is to keep improving our habits and keep playing better basketball."
K-State was ranked No. 22 when the Sooners pulled last year's 63-60 upset in Manhattan. Steven Pledger scored 30 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:27 to play.
Fitzgerald resurfaces: Andrew Fitzgerald entered Wednesday's game having scored one point in 13 total minutes over OU's first two Big 12 games. He hadn't scored in double figures since the Nov. 11 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe.
He was due some production, and it came in Wednesday's first half.
His hook gave the Sooners a 15-9 lead 11:14 before halftime. He added a pair of free throws a minute and a half later, then came on strong down the stretch,
Fitzgerald drilled a 15-footer over Kader Tapsoba with 3:20 left in the half. He hit a 10-footer in transition. Then he scored near the free throw line to give OU a 32-27 lead with 46 seconds remaining.
Bedlam admirer: Earlier this week, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford sang the Sooners' praises during the Big 12 coaches teleconference.
"You've got a veteran team with all five starters back from last year's team, and three of them aren't even starting. That's pretty good," Ford said. "Against us ... a lot of younger guys got him the lead, and then late in the game when we started doing some things, he was able to bring in Sam Grooms, who has been through the ropes a little bit. He's got depth.
"I know he's stated many times that he's going to play the guys that deserve it. That brings out good competition. When you're competitive in practice so you can hold guys accountable.
"They've got skilled guys at every position. Their (forwards) can put it on the floor, can shoot it, can do a lot of different things. Their (guards) are skilled. I like their team."