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Oklahoma basketball: Plenty of heroes in win over Kansas

COMMENTARY — Flurry of big shots sparked a celebration in Norman, with the crowd rushing the court, but not sure who to hug.
by Berry Tramel Published: February 9, 2013

NORMAN — Here they came, OU students storming the Lloyd Noble Center hardwood Saturday.

A little late, a little delayed, not quite SportsCenter worthy. But cut them some slack. It's been a long time since Sooner basketball was this much fun.

OU took down the fifth-ranked Jayhawks 72-66 Saturday, and here was the best part of the celebrating fans. They didn't know who to hug.

This was a Sooner victory either void of heroes or full of them. Nothing in between. The wealth was spread.

Romero Osby was OU's best player — 17 points on eight shots, plus eight rebounds. Cameron Clark scored six straight points midway through the second half to post the game's only nine-point lead.

And then the Sooners made only three baskets the remaining 9:20 of the game, by Amath M'Baye, Steven Pledger and Je'lon Hornbeak. All three were 3-pointers immediately after Kansas had drawn within one or two points.

Talk about big shots.

“Lot of different guys stepped up, made plays,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “Jumpers here and there to keep our heads above water.”

M'Baye had made just two 3-pointers all season but nailed a trey with 4:45 left to make it 60-56.

Moments later, Pledger swished a 3-pointer to make it 63-59, 22 seconds after KU's Travis Releford missed a foul shot that could have tied it.

But if you have to pick the shiniest star, go with Hornbeak. The freshman started the first 20 games but lost that status a week ago.

Hornbeak didn't even take a shot until the final five minutes Saturday, but when the ball swung his way with 90 seconds left and OU up 63-61, he was ready.

“I told him in the huddle, have your feet ready,” Osby said. “I had missed one (3-pointer), and that's not really my game. I kicked it to him, he shot it with confidence. Made a big shot for us.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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