OU basketball notebook: Quick start not enough
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 20, 2013
1/20/13 at 6:18 AM
When Romero Osby flew in and threw down an inbound pass with 8:08 remaining in Saturday's first half, Oklahoma led Kansas State 21-17.
To that point, the Sooners were doing everything needed to upset the No. 16 Wildcats. They were guarding Rodney McGruder (he didn't score until the 6:49 mark). They were hitting the boards (they outrebounded K-State 20-10 for the half). They were getting help from unlikely sources.
Reserve forward Andrew Fitzgerald scored six straight points to make it 12-7. Je'lon Hornbeak scored a quick five to make it 19-17, right before Osby's moment.
"We got off to a good start," OU coach Lon Kruger said.
"In the first 10 minutes they definitely outplayed us," K-State counterpart Bruce Weber said.
"Kansas State made a nice run," Kruger said. "They made some 3s late in the first half."
The Wildcats made four in the final eight minutes of the half, including three by McGruder, to change the game.
Growing pain: Starting point guard Hornbeak played just 15 minutes after appearing to get nervous handling the ball. Buddy Hield scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, but he also committed three turnovers. Isaiah Cousins made 1-of-4 shots.
It was the first time OU's three freshmen played in an intense, hostile road environment, and it occasionally showed.
"It was pretty loud," Hield said with a nod to the 12,528 K-State fans. "I committed a couple turnovers, but as the game went, I started getting better. I have to be better in these types of environments defending and just being ready for the challenge."
On deck: OU hosts Texas at 8:30 p.m. Monday. The Longhorns lost 64-59 to Kansas on Saturday and fell to 0-4 in the Big 12 Conference.
That becomes a very important game for the Sooners.
K-State, meanwhile, hosts KU Tuesday night with first place in the Big 12 on the line.
Asked if alma mater KSU had a shot in that one, Kruger said: "Absolutely. I'm biased always when that game comes along. But no question. It's not a fluke Kansas State is ranked where they are. They're there for a reason. They're very deserving of that. It'll be a good game."