Oklahoma juniors Andrew Fitzgerald and Steven Pledger are the only two players that have been part of three consecutive losing seasons.
The Sooners finished 15-16 following a 62-53 loss Wednesday night to Texas A&M in a Big 12 Tournament first-round game.
“When you're losing you kind of feel that it's your fault, that I'm the problem,” Pledger said. “I know that's not the case because I work hard. We all work hard. It's definitely time to work even harder and stop talking.”
The Sooners have finished 42-52 during Fitzgerald's and Pledger's three seasons.
“It's been very tough,” Fitzgerald said. “We have a good group of guys. We've got to get to a point where we put everything on the line. Sometimes we're too laid back. We have to learn from our mistakes and come back stronger next year.”
OSBY'S OFFENSIVE GAME IMPROVES
Junior forward Romero Osby, who sat out last season after transferring from Mississippi State, developed into OU's most consistent offensive threat the final two months.
“It was good to get this season under my belt,” Osby said. “I haven't played this many minutes basically since high school. It was big for me to get out there and get my feet wet, get used to starting again, get used to the Big 12, one of the best conferences in the nation.”
Osby averaged 12.9 for the season but averaged 14.9 over OU's final 17 games.
“Hopefully, next year I can come back stronger and be a better player,” Osby said. “I think we'll have a lot more weapons so hopefully we'll be better as a team, too.”
SOONERS BEATEN ON HUSTLE PLAYS
OU coach Lon Kruger said the difference in a season-ending loss was Texas A&M showed more energy, evident in the Aggies grabbing 13 offensive rebounds.
“All night, they seemed to be quicker to loose balls. And the offensive boards really hurt us,” Kruger said. “But at this point in the season, this group worked hard all year despite the way it looked tonight. They've made some progress, but we've got a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”
HARRIS EMULATES RUSSELL WESTBROOK
The key shot of the game might have been a Dash Harris 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining that pushed A&M's lead to 50-45.
After making the 3-pointer, Harris, from Los Angeles, lifted his hands in the air and then placed them in a make-believe holster.
“I got that from one of my friends, Russell Westbrook who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Harris said. “He does that after threes. We grew up playing against each other. LA is a big circle of basketball. We hang out in the summers, me, him and James Harden.”
Point guard Sam Grooms hit a rare 3-pointer in the opening minutes. Grooms was 1-of-15 beyond the arc during 18 regular season conference games... Cameron Clark grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Clark averaged 9.3 boards the final three games... Grooms finished the season with a Big 12 best assists-to-turnover ratio (2.85) but had four turnovers with only four assists in the finale.
By Mike Baldwin