Sooners overwhelm No. 5 Jayhawks
Kansas was ranked fifth in the nation on Saturday when the Oklahoma Sooners powered their way to a 72-66 upset of the Jayhawks.
It is an important win for the Sooners as they drive toward a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Romero Osby had 17 points and Steven Pledger had 15 as Oklahoma led most of the game.
“When you beat a Kansas team you always feel good about it,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “I am really happy for the players and fans because those spontaneous celebrations are something you can’t put a value on. Credit to the tradition of Kansas and how great they are through the years and this year, too. A lot of different guys stepped up and made plays and made shots there late. We made enough jumpers here and there to keep our head above water.”
It was the third loss in a row for the Jayhawks (19-4, 7-3 Big 12). Oklahoma ended a 10-game losing streak in the series and it was their first win over a Top 5 team since beating No. 4 Texas on Jan. 28, 2006.
“We had a lot of energy from the get-go,” said Osby. “Shoot around was really active, the guys were active, everybody was anxious just to get out there and play. That’s the thing you love about college basketball. You have the crowd behind you at home and everybody has enthusiasm. Coach has been preaching that since day one, talking and helping each other and making that extra effort. I think that ended up being the deciding factor, the fact that we came out there and played hard and defended well.”
“I tried to keep my feet moving, that’s all,” said Pledger. “There might have been some cross-moving here and there but I just tried to keep my feet moving and keep my hands ready. That’s been a big problem for me this year, I wasn’t really ready for any passes, so I just try to stay ready for everything.”
OU finished with seven 3-pointers to KU’s five, marking just the second time in Big 12 play the Sooners made more treys than their opponent (OU made eight to Oklahoma State’s six on Jan. 12). Entering the day, Oklahoma had 34 3-point makes in nine league games while opponents had 67.
After going 4-for-16 from the field against Kansas two weeks ago in Lawrence, Osby was 6-for-8 Saturday.
Pledger added 15 points for OU after averaging 3.5 points the previous two contests.
After being down for several years, fan support has risen as the Sooners have been winning.
“The crowd has been great for Big 12 games,” Kruger said. “They have been outstanding. Again, I mentioned the value of those spontaneous celebrations, especially with the students, are hard to determine. They are important that is for sure. It’s a step but there are a lot of steps. This is a small step here.”
The Sooners made an impression on the Jayhawks.
“They’re just a good team,” said KU’s Elijah Johnson. “Osby gives them so much because he can stretch the floor. They talk. They’re energetic, and they like to play basketball. That’s one thing I can say about them as a group is that they like to play ball, and I respect that because they’re having fun out there.”
OU will travel to Stillwater Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. tipoff against OSU in the second Bedlam match of the year.