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Oklahoma basketball: Romero Osby carries Sooners, but not far enough

COMMENTARY — OU senior fought as hard as he could, but he didn't have enough help as the Sooners were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by San Diego State.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 23, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Romero Osby walked with heavy feet toward the Oklahoma bench, hands on hips, head hung low.

He stopped and bent over at the waist.

This was a man worn down.

His fatigue after the final buzzer Friday was understandable — he carried these Sooners as far as they could go.

On a night when OU's return to the NCAA Tournament ended abruptly with a 70-55 loss to San Diego State, Osby did everything he could to prolong the Sooners' stay. He battled. He fought. But in the end, he didn't have enough help.

“I knew it could potentially be my last game,” Osby said, “and I had to go out and fight as hard as I can.”

He did that and then some.

Osby's had a fighter's stat line: 37 minutes, 22 points and eight rebounds.

You won't find a more determined player in college basketball than Osby. He hustles. He cares. He tries to do anything and everything that his team asks of him.

And Friday, the Sooners needed him to score and score and score. His teammates managed to hit only 14 of the 43 shots that they took, and their struggles in the second half were especially profound. They struggled to hit anything from outside. Things were so bad that in the first 13-plus minutes of the second half, they had only one basket scored outside the paint.

That basket?

A turnaround jumper by Osby.

Osby, as it turned out, scored 13 of OU's first 18 points of the first half, the last of those coming on a 3-pointer with 6:52 left in the game. That shot pulled the Sooners to within five points, closer than their offensive performance should've allowed them to be.

But then, as if on cue, Buddy Hield airballed a 3.

Je'lon Hornbeak followed that by backrimming another 3.

Less than three minutes later, San Diego State had a double-digit lead that it wouldn't relinquish.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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