Little things end up hurting OU in Bedlam loss
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 6:38 AM
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STILLWATER - Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger was about to address the most frustrating thing from Saturday's 84-79 Bedlam loss, when the game's most remarkable player walked by.
"Good job. Good luck. Keep it going," Kruger told Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart as the two exchanged a brief hug. "You're playing great. Playing great."
Smart did so much to lead the Cowboys to victory. And truthfully, several Sooners did enough to win.
Romero Osby went for 18 points and 15 rebounds. Sam Grooms made 9-of-11 shots and scored 18. Steven Pledger caught fire in the second half and scored 18 as well.
Kruger pointed all of that out. But as Smart disappeared into a postgame press conference, it was back to the frustrating thing that overrode all of the good OU did.
"It's the difference between winning and losing, just getting that loose ball or making that play," Kruger said. "That's what games come down to."
Saturday, before an overflow crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena, Bedlam came down to the plays OU ultimately did not make.
The Sooners led 73-71 with 45 seconds left in regulation when OSU guard Markel Brown rimmed off a jumper from the top of the key. Cameron Clark reached out to grab the long rebound, but it bounced off his hand. He fouled Smart in pursuit of the deflected ball, and Smart made both free throws.
Instead of leading by two with the ball, OU was tied 73-73.
Kruger said he wanted to isolate Osby in the ensuing possession. Instead, Grooms dribbled near the perimeter without anyone, much less Osby, springing open. Kruger called time with the shot clock at :04, and called another play for Osby.
Only Osby never broke free of Brian Williams after receiving Grooms' inbound. He hit backboard only as the shot clock expired, and the game went to overtime after Smart missed a buzzer-beating 3.
The Sooners took leads of 75-73, 77-75 and 79-78 before OSU forward Le'Bryan Nash beat Je'lon Hornbeak for a dunk with 54 seconds left.
Grooms took possession in backcourt trailing 80-79 and ...
"I don't think there's any way to explain it. I just lost the basketball," he said. "Turned it over."
It was only Grooms' second turnover in 35 minutes. But it led to Michael Cobbins' backbreaking layup with 37 seconds to play.
Pledger forced a guarded 3 on the ensuing possession, which Smart blocked into a held ball. The possession arrow favored the Cowboys. OU fouled Smart, and the precocious point guard iced the game with two free throws.
As OSU students rushed the court, a couple Sooners looked like they had just bitten into lemons.
"It's always difficult to lose," Osby said, "especially to Oklahoma State."
"A tough loss for sure," Kruger siad. "Guys on both teams played their hearts out."
The Sooners played hard throughout. They played well more often that they didn't. They took the lead with 2:36 left in the first half, and didn't trail until 1:37 remained in overtime.
But that was of little consolation, since they failed to make enough plays with the outcome in the balance.
"It hurts walking out of here without the win," Grooms said.
Original Print Headline: Little things end up hurting Sooners in loss
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Oklahoma forward Amath M'Baye drives by Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams during Saturday's game in Stillwater. KT KING / For the Tulsa World