Romero Osby scores 29 as Sooners roll past Longhorns
Sooner fans decked out in white T-shirts shouted “just like football” Monday night as the Sooners beat Texas 73-67 in Norman.
OU forward Romero Osby tore apart the Longhorns with a career-high 29 points as the Sooners jumped to a 4-1 Big 12 mark and Texas dropped to 0-5 in conference play.
“Roe’s leadership has been invaluable to the entire group, but especially the young guys,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “Again, it is not just the young guys that he sets the bar for. He sets it for everyone. I think our guys, like Amath [M'Baye] said, they appreciate the fact that he is very genuine and is doing it for all the right reasons and is all about the team. No one puts more time in or works harder or is more consistent in practice than he is. That is what you want out of your leading scorer and a guy that everyone else is kind of rallying around.”
“It felt good,” Osby said about his first win over Texas. “I was telling Sam [Grooms] when we were coming back to the huddle that we finally got these guys. Since I have been here they have beat us. Twice my first year when I was redshirted and twice last year, so to come in and finally beat them, it feels good.”
Osby said he didn’t set out to score so many points.
“I was just trying to focus on making my free throws, defensive plays, and getting rebounds and I knew the offense would come,” Osby said. “I knew Coach Kruger and my teammates had faith in me and they would get it to me. I was just trying to do some other things besides score.”
“We really believe that Osby is one of the best players in the league,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “This is a guy that can score in a lot of different ways and we love the way he plays.”
Texas (8-10, 0-5), which lost to OU in football, is off to its worst conference start since 1976. Jonathan Holmes, the Longhorns top rebounder, left the game with a broken hand.
M’Baye of Oklahoma (13-4, 4-1) had three spectacular dunks along with 15 points as OU ended a six-game losing streak to Texas.
“Lobs are always a huge part on the guard,” said M’Baye. “It is just about finishing them. Our guards are doing a terrific job finding us around the basket.”
“It is fun,” said OU’s Buddy Hield. “I see Amath [M'Baye] running down the court and I hit him. I like making plays like that and getting the crowd into it.”
Both teams had a hard time scoring and turned the ball over at the start of the Red River rivalry match.
“I thought they fought hard from the start,” Kruger said. “It was a little bit of a trouble to get going, I thought it seemed. I thought Texas played really hard and very physical early with us. It took a little while to get through that. The guys did a terrific job of creating the energy in the second half and were really aggressive on both ends of the floor. Of course, all of us kind of played off of Romero [Osby]. He was fantastic all night long.”
Oklahoma shot .481 from the field, the highest figure allowed by Texas this season (Michigan State shot .447 on Dec. 22). The Longhorns entered the game holding opponents to a national-low .345 field goal mark. OU shot .542 in the second half.
“I think Lon [Kruger] has done a really good job blending his younger guys in with the older guys,” Barnes said. “The older guys have definitely gotten better and I like the chemistry and I like what he’s done. I think they’re a really good team, I do. I don’t think they were characteristically the way they played at the start of the game; I hadn’t really seen that from any tapes I’ve watched.”
Oklahoma plays at No. 2 Kansas on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.
“It’s a big challenge,” said Kruger. “They are a terrific ball club, top three or four team in the country, and deserving of that. Allen Field House is a great place and will be a good challenge for our guys. Again, I think this group continues to grow and learns by every experience, and we learned from tonight. We just need to be even better, hopefully, on Saturday.”