NORMAN — Je'lon Hornbeak's grandmother saw her grandson's two front teeth chipped.
Sooner Nation saw a resilient Oklahoma team that was steady at the free-throw line, aggressive on defense and ledby a career-high 23 points from Sam Grooms in Oklahoma's 90-76 victory against Baylor on Saturday.
They saw Hornbeak's face hit the hardwood just eight minutes into the game and they saw his eventual return — because for these Sooners, playing with worn-off numbing medication is better than not playing at all.
“I got tangled with (Baylor's Gary) Franklin,” Hornbeak said just minutes before he left for the dentist. “They said it was in my best interest to stop my nerves from being exposed, especially if I really wanted to get my teeth back. ... I thought that was a good idea. By the time I came back down, the numbness had worn off. So I popped two Tylenol and went back in.”
It's just one adjustment of many the Sooners (18-8, 9-5) made on Saturday in their ninth Big 12 victory of the season. Cam Clark stepped in and grabbed two rebounds when Hornbeak went down. Grooms earned his second start at point guard, and the Sooners found a way to keep their rhythm and their minds through 57 fouls called.
The Sooners ended the first half on an 18-1 run, allowing only one point in the half's last 5:42. They went into the locker room ahead by 26.
Then came a second half when 36 fouls were called. Grooms, who shot a perfect 6 of 6 from the charity stripe in the first half, ended the night 15 of 17 from the line.
With a victory, the Bears could have tied Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings. Instead, Baylor got swept in the season series after doing the sweeping a season ago.