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Catching up with Lon Kruger – Kansas State vs. Oklahoma edition

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: February 2, 2013
Oklahoma Head Coach Lon Kruger holds up the game ball after his 500th career win during a men's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Northwestern Louisiana State University at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Head Coach Lon Kruger holds up the game ball after his 500th career win during a men's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Northwestern Louisiana State University at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma takes on Kansas State at home at 5 p.m.

The Sooners are coming off their biggest victory of the season, beating Baylor in Waco 74-71.

Lon Kruger talked with the media about that Baylor game, the month of February, the Kansas State game and the little kid who tried to join live play.

Toward the end of the Baylor game, you guys had a big lead and it dwindled. 

We’ll learn from the late-game situations. It’s a great road win. Like to have finished it cleaner for sure but it’s hard to simulate that stuff in practice so hopefully it’s good experience for us and the opportunity to learn from a winning experience is always nice than learning from the alternative. Would have liked to finish cleaner, got a little soppy there late. We have to clean that up for sure.

Was it good to see that you can win when Romero Osby doesn’t have a big night?

Yeah it was a night when (Steven) Pledger had a great first half, which that makes a big difference when he’s making shots like that and then Amath (M’Baye) has a terrific night as well. This has been a club. Roes’ been a corner stone in terms of consistency all year long but at different times, different guys have stepped up and contributed in different ways.

Amath’s been playing better in the past two weeks.

Yeah Amath’s playing well. He’s played well in practice for a while and he’s shooting the ball consistently well.. very,very active.very very energetic and playing with a lot of confidence right now.

What are your thoughts on K State at home?

Always good to be at home. Crowds have been great and that’s a big key. Student section has been terrific and that’s very helpful. Guys appreciate that. Kansas State’s very good. (Wildcats coach) Bruce (Weber) has done a terrific job and they play really hard defensively and they make it tough on you and offensively … they hav a lot of guys that can step up and make shots.

What’s going on with Sam Grooms? Is he feeling okay?

He’s feeling fine. Just got to get a few better results, especially on the defensive end. That’s an area where we can’t have possessions where we don’t get down and really work at guarding people. Sam will bounce back and he’ll play key minutes for us and still contribute in a lot of ways.

In the past, February has been a time when this team has hit the wall. Do you feel like that win against Baylor and other wins this season have set them up for longer-term success?

All we have to compare it to is last year. Certainly the depth this year is a lot better than what it was a year ago. It’s not just depth but quality depth in terms of quality minutes. We feel much better about that this time around.

Is February usually the month you see decline?

It is. Production seems to go down a bit in the alter half of the play. People get more familiar with each other and not many surprises. Players making plays and finishing plays. It gets tougher toward the end

Have you ever had a little one try to join your basketball game before? 

I don’t recall that, not while the ball is in play  It looked like he was into it. Looked like he was ready. Last year at home, I believe someone spilled a drink.

What were you thinking when you saw it?

I didn’t see him until the referee had stopped it. The play was going that way and he was kind of coming from back here. When the referee stopped it, the dad was in hot pursuit.

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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