Lon Kruger: ‘We Have to Have More Grit to Get Into the Win Column’

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger has been here before. Fortunately throughout a 30-year career as a head coach, hard times have been few for Kruger and the six different colleges where he has coached and always followed by successful turnarounds and better times ahead.

Nov 23, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lon Kruger reacts during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 23, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lon Kruger reacts during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

That’s about all fans of Sooner men’s basketball have to hold on to this season, as Oklahoma has struggled to find and sustain any kind of offensive consistency and has demonstrated a high propensity for failing to close out games it might have and could have won.

The OU team leaders have proved to be primarily freshmen and sophomores, and the inexperience that comes with that has made it tough to find success in a conference as competitive and rich in talent as the Big 12, which is rated No. 1 among the major college basketball conferences., according to RPI (Ratings Percentage Index).

The loss to Oklahoma State in the Bedlam series on Monday night dropped the Sooners to the bottom of the heap in the Big 12, and they are likely to take up outright residence there unless they are able to find a way to get back on a winning track.

“We have to grow through it. We have to stay with it,” Kruger said after another heartbreaking loss by the Sooners on Monday night. “We just need to have more grit to get into the win column.”

Since 1929, the first season of the Big Six Conference, Oklahoma has ended a basketball season in last place in the league nine times in 88 seasons, and never in the Big 12 era. By contrast, the Sooners have either won outright or shared the conference’s top spot in the standings 13 times over that same time span.

With just nine games left in the regular season, it now appears all but certain that Oklahoma will be staying home and miss the postseason for this first time in four years.

The Sooners have sustained a bunch of tough finishes this season, games that just a year ago they would have found a way to win. What a difference a year makes.

The Sooners are currently mired in four-game losing streak and 11 of the last 13. Seven of the 13 losses have been by six points or less and three have come in overtime.

Unfortunately, close doesn’t count in the sport of basketball, or any other major college sport, for that matter.

Oklahoma needs to find a way to close out games and finish what they started. There have been very few games in which the Sooners have not been in games early and held leads deep into the second half.

They must dig deeper and find that grit their head coach says is missing

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