The Cowboys made this second half much more than representative. A game that seemed over suddenly wasn't. After Page's 3-pointer brought the Cowboys within 42-39, OSU got two straight defensive stops and chances to tie.
Page's 3-point shot looked good but rimmed out. Brian Williams' 3-point liner bounced off.
And burst went the bubble. OU's Romero Osby bulled in for a basket to stop the run.
“You fight that hard … then they scored, our shoulders slumped,” Ford said. “That took a lot out of us.”
Soon enough, the Sooners were back in control.
OSU's cold shooting returned. Missed six of seven shots; only Page stayed hot.
Only Page and the Sooners. Given the reprieve from blowing an 18-point halftime lead, OU played efficient offense the rest of the way.
Osby's basket started a run. OU scored on nine straight possessions and 18 of its remaining 21 possessions. OU made 14 of its last 19 shots.
Kruger said OSU's defense down the stretch had to gamble. The Cowboys trapped and extended out, looking for steals. “I thought our guys handled those situations really well,” Kruger said. “Got easy baskets late.”
Not much has come easy for these Sooners. They had lost six straight, settling into ninth place in the Big 12. Worse yet, they had lost focus.
The Sooners found some of that focus in the first half. Maybe it was desperation time.
In the Lloyd Noble tunnel after the game, OU's Sam Grooms approached Ford, who had tried to recruit the point guard to OSU.
They greeted each other, and Grooms said, “Oh, coach, we needed this one really bad.”
The Sooners played like it, on a night with a result that had to please Tubbs and a style that had to make even Sutton proud.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.