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Big 12 Tournament: Texas A&M bounces OU men, 62-53

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: March 7, 2012

/articleid/3655502/1/pictures/1661486">Photo - Oklahoma's Steven Pledger (2) fights for a rebound with Texas A&M's Daniel Alexander (20) during the Big 12 tournament men's basketball game between the Oklahoma  Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies at the Sprint Center, Tuesday, March, 6, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Steven Pledger (2) fights for a rebound with Texas A&M's Daniel Alexander (20) during the Big 12 tournament men's basketball game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies at the Sprint Center, Tuesday, March, 6, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
But the primary reason OU lost 14 games against conference opponents is the Sooners struggled to put together a complete game.

“It's the same old thing where we don't make enough plays the last five minutes,” said guard Steven Pledger. “This is definitely tough, a microcosm of our season.”

Facing an A&M team that had lost five straight games and had only two players show up for a voluntary shootaround Tuesday at the Sprint Center the Sooners were a slight favorite. A win would have at least avoided a losing season.

Instead it was another example how the Sooners never learned how to compete hard for 40 minutes, that extended lulls too often were the difference between a win and a loss.

“It was a very tough season for us, a lot of learning experiences,” said forward Andrew Fitzgerald. “This season showed we can play with almost every team. A lot of times it comes down to defensive intensity and executing on offense. We just didn't do it consistently enough.”

The Sooners won't play in the postseason for the third straight year after making 25 consecutive NCAA or NIT appearances, a streak that ended in Capel's first season five years ago.

“Throughout the season you always have tomorrow,” Grooms said. “Now there is no tomorrow. This is the quietest the locker room has been all year. It's very frustrating we didn't get it done this year. We have to work hard in the offseason and change a lot of things.”

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