With the Sooners owning a 61-58 lead with 9.3 seconds left, Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger instructed players to foul Kansas State once they crossed midcourt instead of allowing the Wildcats to attempt a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
“We typically will do that, up three under six or seven (seconds),” Kruger said.
K-State's Jordan Henriquez made both free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats fouled Sam Grooms, who hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to give OU a 63-60 lead. That would be the final points. K-State's Rodney McGruder's 22-footer at the buzzer hit the back of the rim.
“We obviously meant to foul again with two or three seconds to go and we didn't,” Kruger said. “McGruder had a real good look at it. He shot it great. It just didn't go.”
FOUL TROUBLE A FACTOR
The Sooners built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but momentum stalled when Steven Pledger, Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby all picked up their third foul with more than 16 minutes left.
It got worse.
Pledger picked up his fourth foul with 10:56 remaining, Fitzgerald his fourth with 10:01 left. Both returned with 6:48 remaining. The only player to foul out was Fitzgerald with 5.2 seconds left.
“Coach did a good job getting guys in and out,” Osby said. “We just played a little bit smarter (at the end). We still played aggressive but tried to play smarter.”
CANCER AWARENESS WEEKEND
Kruger and his staff wore tennis shoes Saturday as part of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, .
“Everyone has been touched by cancer,” Kruger said. “It's a great cause. It's been a signature charity for the coaches association for years.”
Fans can text COACH to 20222 from any wireless phone to make a $5 donation toward Coaches vs. Cancer.
For more information go to the Coaches vs. Cancer Facebook page: facebook.com/coachesvscancer.
Cameron Clark grabbed a team-high six rebounds and scored 11 points, six on three alley-oop dunks. It was Clark's highest production since he scored 14 in the All-College Classic against Houston. ... Grooms had seven assists and one turnover to pad his Big 12 assists-to-turnover ratio lead. ... Kruger essentially went with a seven-man rotation with Carl Blair and C.J. Washington coming off the bench. Tyler Neal played only two minutes. ... Fitzgerald's streak of double-figure games ended at 14. Fitzgerald had scored 10 or more points in every game since Dec. 2 but scored only three points. ... K-State out-rebounded OU 33-29, but it was an improvement over the first meeting when the Wildcats owned a 44-24 edge.