Men's basketball: Sooners to lean on upperclassmen in K-State rematch
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The OU men’s basketball team looks to avenge a Big 12 loss against No. 18 Kansas State at 5 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.
The last time the two teams met, Kansas State forced 16 OU turnovers and rode a 21-point advantage in three-point baskets to a 69-60 victory.
“You just can’t give away possessions against good teams,” coach Lon Kruger said. “You have to take good care of the ball, and you have to get good shots up.”
The Sooners did a better job of those two things in their last game, a 74-71 road victory over Baylor.
In that game, OU took control early and never relinquished the lead even though they had a few shaky moments toward the end.
In the last three minutes of the game, the Sooners allowed a 67-56 lead to dwindle to 67-66.
They were then able to pull ahead with some clutch free throws from freshman guard Je’lon Hornbeak and senior guard Steven Pledger, however the drama didn’t end there.
It took two missed Baylor three pointers in the last three seconds, one from senior guard Pierre Jackson and one from junior guard Brady Heslip, for the Sooners to walk out of Waco with a key road victory.
“The last five minutes were kind of tough for us,” senior forward Romero Osby said. “We turned the ball over some and kind of let them make a run, but it was good for us because it shows us how good we can be.”
The Sooners will need to continue to be as good as they can be if they hope to slow down the Wildcats.
Kansas State has established themselves as one of the best teams in the Big 12, if not the whole country.
They employ a balanced attack, with five players averaging better than seven points per game.
Those five players are led by senior guard Rodney McGruder, a deadly shooter who averages 14.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
However, while Kansas State does have a balanced offense, the Sooners hope to be able to push them around inside due to their lack of size.
The frontcourt tandem of junior forward Amath M’Baye and Osby will try to continue their stellar Big 12 play.
M’Baye in particular will look to continue a hot streak, as he lead the Sooners with 20 points on 75 percent shooting against Baylor.
“It was just confidence building,” M’Baye said. “I had a little rough patch this season, but now I’m starting to feel more comfortable. It’s a great feeling.”