Oklahoma-TCU Preview

BY foxsports • March 4, 2016

A win over Baylor this week kept Oklahoma in the hunt for a second-place finish in the Big 12. If the Sooners take care of business in their finale Saturday at last-place TCU, they'll be rooting for the Bears to bounce back.

Sixth-ranked Oklahoma (23-6, 11-6) beat No. 19 Baylor 73-71 on Tuesday before No. 10 West Virginia rolled to a 90-68 win over Texas Tech the next night, moving the Mountaineers one game ahead of the Sooners.

Oklahoma, though, swept the season series with West Virginia, so it would clinch second place if it gets past TCU (11-19, 2-15) and the Mountaineers lose at Baylor.

The Sooners have beaten the Horned Frogs five straight times, winning 95-72 on Feb. 2, but they aren't going to take them lightly considering how Tuesday's game finished.

Oklahoma blew a 26-point lead on Senior Night and was outscored 46-27 in the second half before holding off the Bears for its third win in four games.

''You can't afford to do that, especially this time of year,'' coach Lon Kruger said. ''Obviously, you get into tournament play, and one bad stretch can cost you and end it all very quickly.''

The home careers of seniors Buddy Hield, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins came to an end. Hield scored 23, Spangler added 15 points, 13 rebounds and a season-high five assists and Cousins hit a jumper to put Oklahoma ahead after Baylor took a 68-67 lead.

''We were just stagnant,'' said Hield, a national player of the year candidate who's second in the nation with 25.3 points per game and first with 121 made 3-pointers. ''Thank God Isaiah could step up and make a big shot. We really needed it. He picked us up enough.''

The trio has started each game since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, going 70-27. They'll take the court Saturday for the final time in the regular season before trying to lead the Sooners to their first conference tournament title since winning three in a row from 2001-03.

''I'm proud of these guys. These guys have been outstanding,'' Kruger said. ''I can't imagine three guys in the country who have impacted, in one class, a program more than these guys have. It's a special, special group and we'll feel their impact for a long time after the next month or so.''

Oklahoma now finishes up on the road, where it's dropped three of four while averaging 67.8 points and shooting 39.8 percent overall and 29.4 from beyond the arc. On the season, the Sooners score 81.1 points per game and shoot 45.7 percent and 42.8 from 3.

They have a good chance to reach those numbers against TCU, which has allowed opponents to average 79.3 points, shoot 47.4 percent and hit 41.1 percent from 3 during a six-game losing streak.

Kansas State made 56.5 percent of its shots and went 10 for 19 from behind the arc to rout visiting TCU 79-54 on Wednesday.

''That was a good 'ol fashion beat down,'' coach Trent Johnson said. ''I had concerns going in because we were fatigued. But I don't want to take anything away from K-State - they shot the ball really well.''

Defense, though, hasn't been the only problem for the Horned Frogs. They're last in Big 12 play with 62.5 points per game and a 38.1 field-goal percentage.

TCU has dropped 14 straight and 35 of 36 against Top 25 teams. Its 10 such losses this season have come by an average of 15.8 points.

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