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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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma never got over the hump against Texas A&M Wednesday night at the Sprint Center.

A 62-53 loss in a Big 12 Tournament opener was a microcosm of the entire season, the Sooners' third consecutive losing campaign.

Lon Kruger's inaugural season began with promise when the Sooners went 10-2 in nonconference play.

It ended with disappointment and frustration.

A 15-16 finish on the heels of back-to-back losing seasons under Jeff Capel is proof Kruger still has much work to do to get the Sooners back in the NCAA Tournament.

“It's a process,” Kruger said. “You have to work at it. This group knows we have to do a lot of things better. And the coaching staff has to do a lot of things better. Everyone wants it to happen right away. It doesn't always happen right away.”

The Sooners never showed any consistency other than consistently being outscored in the second half in all but two of 19 conference games.

OU ended the season with 14 consecutive games in which it failed to outscore its opponent the second half.

“It's tough,” said point guard Sam Grooms. “Tonight showed a little bit of what we've been going through all year. We're just a couple of plays, a couple of possessions away from being the type of team we want to be.”

Problem areas varied from game to game.

In Wednesday's season-ending loss, the Sooners were outrebounded 37-28, which helped the Aggies own a 15-8 edge in second-chance points.

“The second half is when a team really has to fight to win the game,” said forward Romero Osby, who scored a team-high 17 points. “Too many times teams outworked us the second half. That would end up being our downfall.”

Unlike the teams' two regular-season meetings, Texas A&M owned the lead much of the game. The Aggies went on a 16-4 run late in the first half to build a 27-22 halftime lead.

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