Men's Basketball: Oklahoma
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, March 04, 2013
3/04/13 at 6:12 AM
19-9 overall, 10-6 Big 12
with Cameron Clark
Weight: 208 pounds
Hometown: Sherman, Texas
Always one of Oklahoma's most athletic players, Clark has developed confidence in his jumper as the season has progressed. That gives the Sooners the potential for instant offense when he jumps off Lon Kruger's bench. Clark chipped in six points as OU defeated Iowa State Saturday, a day in which the Sooners' five seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony.
Which senior will you miss the most?
To be honest, I'm gonna miss all of them, man. I came in right after them. Romero, Steve, Fitz, Sam ... They're like my brothers. It's gonna be hard seeing them go. But they'll be doing their thing, so it's all good.
You'll be a senior soon enough. Do you already sense you'll have new responsibilities?
Yeah, that comes with being a senior. When you've been here the longest, you've got to keep the team together, make sure everybody's fired up, things like that. Make sure we're one group.
You're not the loudest person. How will you take on that challenge?
I don't think you have to be the loudest guy to lead. You've just got to have your team's confidence so they'll believe in you. I think my team believes in me, so we'll be all right.
The Sooners are eight lousy minutes from being one of the hottest teams around. They were, as Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg described it, "off-the-charts good" for three quarters of last Wednesday's game at Texas. Then they came apart and wound up bowing in overtime. Saturday, the Sooners answered any letdown questions emphatically. They never trailed in blowing away the Cylcones 86-69, and improved to 5-2 (with two overtime losses) since Feb. 9.
The week ahead
Wednesday: vs. West Virginia, 8 p.m.
Saturday: at TCU, 4 p.m.
The Sooners should have a 2-0 week, which should make them 21-9 heading to Kansas City for the Big 12 tournament. West Virginia comes to Norman with a four-game losing streak, making the Mountaineers 13-16 overall and 6-10 in the conference. TCU will likely be 10-20 and 1-16 when it hosts the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon. The Horned Frogs trailed 36-11 at halftime in Norman Feb. 11 before eventually falling 75-48.
The big picture
OU would have taken any victory it could get against Iowa State, given what happened at Texas three days earlier. That the Sooners came out and dominated a team with just as much to play for was the most encouraging sign of their season. It was the kind of performance they should carry into the final week of the regular season, which should provide a nice push into the postseason.
Osby takes control
According to OU guard Sam Grooms, senior teammate Romero Osby had something important to share with the Sooners on the plane ride home from Texas. "He said the only way to forget a loss is to get a win," Grooms said. "It stuck with us." It stuck with Osby from the way he played against Iowa State - 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.
Some put the Sooners back on the tournament bubble after they blew their 22-point lead in Austin. That might have happened had they followed that loss with another one against Iowa State. As it stands, and barring a collapse against two of the three worst teams in the Big 12, the Sooners are playing for a better seed this week.
OU's Romero Osby blocks a shot by Iowa State's Korie Lucious during Saturday's game in Norman. STEVE SISNEY / The Oklahoman