Oklahoma 82, No. 18 Kansas St. 73

Under first-year coach Lon Kruger, the focus all season for

Oklahoma has been getting better each day.

At home on Saturday, the Sooners took a giant step forward with

an 82-73 victory over No. 18 Kansas State.

”It was a huge game for us,” Kruger said. ”I’m really proud

of the guys. I really thought they battled from start to finish.

What made it more special is Kansas State is a legitimate top 20


Oklahoma (11-5, 1-3 in Big 12) led the entire game but had to

fend off several Kansas State runs while being outrebounded


Andrew Fitzgerald led Oklahoma with 21 points, while Romero Osby

and Steven Pledger both had 18 and Cameron Clark added 10. It was

Oklahoma’s first Big 12 Conference win after an 0-3 start.

”We just came out and shot the ball with confidence,”

Fitzgerald said. ”It all comes down to us working hard at


Rodney McGruder had 19 points to lead Kansas State (12-4, 1-3)

while Nino Williams and Jeremy Jones each added 12 points.

A former All-Big Eight point guard for Kansas State in his

playing days, Kruger took more pleasure in watching his team stand

up to Kansas State’s comebacks than beating his alma mater.

Oklahoma shot 55 percent from the field overall and 70 percent

in the second half. Kansas State made things a little easier,

contributing 19 turnovers.

”Making shots is the remedy when you’re not doing other things

well,” Kruger said. ”A lot of guys stepped forward as you have to

do to beat a good team.”

Trailing by nine points at halftime, Kansas State fell behind by

as many as 18 in the second half.

The Wildcats cut the deficit to six with 57 seconds remaining

but were forced to foul late and the Sooners made four of six free

throws over the final 1:21.

Oklahoma opened with a 7-0 run, prompting Kansas State Coach

Frank Martin to call a timeout just 1:42 into the game. The Sooners

led by as many as 12 points in the first half as Kansas State

struggled to find offensive consistency while shooting 33


Leading by 18 points with 8:27 remaining in the second half it

looked like Oklahoma would run away but two 3-pointers from Will

Spradling and a basket from Williams as he was falling down cut the

deficit to eight.

”We didn’t come out with any energy. We came out flat,” said

Spradling, who finished with 11 points. ”If you’re playing in

anybody else’s gym and come out flat you’re going to get punches.

When we got punched we didn’t hit them back.”

The conference’s best rebounding team, Oklahoma was outrebounded

for only the third time this season.