MANHATTAN, Kan. — To Romero Osby, this loss — a messy 69-60 loss for Oklahoma at Kansas State — looked a lot like last year.
On Saturday, the Sooners were commanded by the Wildcats. They were weak beyond the arc (3-of-11) and at the line (7-of-15). And as starting forward Osby fell apart, the Sooners racked up turnovers and watched Kansas State drain buckets from 3-point range.
“We didn't do a very good job with the ball,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “That's entirely because of Kansas State. They did a good job and they dictated. ... We tried to battle in the second half to get back in it, but couldn't quite do that.”
That's because the second half was too late for Osby, who sat with his head in his hand during the postgame news conference, to make any real comeback.
Although he ended the first half with only two points and added 10 more in the second, his five turnovers and his team's overall low production were taken advantage of by Kansas State and star guard Rodney McGruder, who led the Wildcats with 20 points..
So in a way, the Sooners (12-4, 3-1) saw a glimpse of how easily this year could become last year. The difference, Osby said, is they've learned not to dwell on it.
The game started off looking like OU was going to stick with Kansas State on every possession. Then at 18:32 came the first turnover. Another one quickly followed, and from there one was sprinkled in every two to three minutes. OU's inability to hold onto the ball gave Kansas State 19 of its 35 first-half points off turnovers. That plus a run of three straight 3-pointers by McGruder led to a 35-27 halftime lead for KSU.
The Wildcats (15-2, 4-0) kept the Sooners from developing any type of run of their own besides six straight points from senior reserve Andrew Fitzgerald early in the game. Then with about eight minutes left in the first half, Je'lon Hornbeak tried to inbounds a pass to Cam Clark for a dunk. It didn't work, but the Sooners got the ball again.
Kruger ran the same play to Osby. Osby dunked the ball. It was the senior's only highlight and only points of the half.
Oklahoma began the second half with a 3-pointer from senior Steven Pledger at 17:33 to bring Oklahoma to 39-32. Until that basket, Pledger had been nearly silent — scoring only two points in the first half. But the senior guard didn't go off on a shooting spree like his 30-point game last year in Manhattan. Pledger produced nothing until he put another shot up from 3-point range with five minutes remaining in the game.
The Sooners stumbled, watched Will Spradling put up more threes and then watched guard Angel Rodriguez score eight points in six minutes. During that time, Osby earned six points off jumpers, layups and putbacks. He finished with 12 points, tied with Amath M'Baye for the Sooners' team high.
“I never really had a chance to attack the big guy,” Osby said. “They made it tough on me. ... The odds were against me a little bit tonight, but it is not about me, it is about my team. When I am not scoring, we have other people stepping up, which is great.”
The fact is, though, during Osby's first-half struggles, the highest scorers were freshman Buddy Hield and Fitzgerald with six points. By that point, Kansas State already had two players in double figures.
Osby said the Sooners will dwell on the loss Saturday night and then move on Sunday to their next game, which is against Texas on Big Monday.
However, Osby will deliver a message to his teammates about this game.
“That it's going to be like this,” Osby said. “Every time we step out. Playing against another good Big 12 team is always going to be like this, especially in their house.”