“Just not moving the ball like we really want to,” Pledger said of the struggles. “It looks real smooth in practice, but when we get in games, it hasn't come out the way we practiced.”
The second half started much of the same way.
Pledger started the half with a 3-pointer. But on OU's next attempt, two Northwestern State players lay in a tangled mess after trying for a rebound — and the Sooners still failed to score.
The game continued to have an edge, and with about 51/2 minutes left, Osby was pushed to the floor as a Northwestern State player went up for shot. Osby thought it was a charge, but the referee called the Sooner for a foul. While sitting on the flour, Osby began to shout and threw his hand in the air. He was called for a technical.
OU trailed by six points but worked its way back. With 2:05 remaining, freshman Je'lon Hornbreak hit a 3 from the left side to give the Sooners a one-point lead.
“Usually that's the way it's been going,” Pledger said about the late-game boost. “It's been every other game, me or Je'lon ... Je'lon hit this last one. It's just those shots during the game that sparks something that we're winning games off of.”
As the game's final minute began to tick off, Pledger put up an alley oop, which M'Baye finished from the right side of the hoop.
When the final seconds faded from the clock, Kruger stood just beyond the bench with his arms spread.
“It's an honor to help coach get his 500th win,” Osby said, “and a testament to how hard he's worked.”