LAWRENCE, Kan. — Romero Osby thought he was going to have a great game Saturday against Kansas.
But that wasn't the case, as the OU senior forward made only four of 16 field goals in Oklahoma's 67-54 loss to No. 3 Kansas.
The loss moved the Sooners (13-5, 4-2 Big 12) into a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12 Conference.
Osby's lack of production did not just happen. Kansas senior Jeff Withey happened.
The Jayhawks' 7-foot center is one of the nation's best shot blockers. Saturday night, he had a debilitating effect on the Sooners, especially Osby.
For Osby, it was tough to get open. He constantly felt enveloped in Withey's 7-foot, 1 1/2 inch wingspan.
It was tough to get Withey to bite on a fake. It was tough, Osby said, to even see over him.
“Especially when he has his arms up,” said Osby, whose eye level was almost perfectly even with Withey's shoulders. “You can see around him because he's not real big, but it's hard to see over him.”
And for Osby, it was tough to keep Withey from getting in his head.
After making an early layup, Osby went up for a dunk with Oklahoma leading 5-4 and missed it.
When Osby's feet hit the court, he looked irritated and muttered under his breath.
Kansas scored the next five points.
Osby made only one other shot in the first half and had one shot blocked by Withey. The Sooners went into halftime down 29-21.
The second half, though, is when Withey's effect really took hold on Osby.
Osby opened the half 0 for 4 and didn't make a basket until the 11:21 mark.
“(Withey) always bothers people but I think I kind of let him get in my head a little bit that I had missed a couple shots,” Osby said. “It's just the fact that he's backing up off you and using his length. I wanted to shoot the jumper but I missed a couple in a row. That just means I have to get in the gym and work more on the shots.”
Osby wasn't the only Sooner affected by Withey. Amath M'Baye, who went 4-of-11 in field goals, also had a shot get blocked by Withey.
Withey finished with four blocks to go with 13 points, nine rebounds and three steals for the Jayhawks (18-1, 6-0 Big 12).
“He's definitely a good shot blocker but (my play) is on my part,” M'Baye said. “I think I could have done a better job on shooting. It's the first time I've played against a 7-footer.”
Withey clearly affected the Sooners. They ended the night going 21-of-59 from the floor.
Oklahoma never cut the deficit to fewer than eight points in the second half, with Kansas leading by as many as 15.
Ben McLemore led Kansas with 18 points.
Osby and M'Baye had 12 points apiece to lead Oklahoma.
Osby did give Withey one piece of payback for dominating the Sooners, blocking a dunk attempt by Withey in the second half.
“He's a unique player not only in our league but in college basketball in terms of you don't play against those players very often,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said of Withey. “You learn from the mistakes. He erases the mistakes on the perimeter plus he guards his own guy inside. ... It's that little difference that Withey provides that makes a difference in shooting.”