As Hield spoke with eyes fresh from tears, Pledger stood staring at the tablecloth while Osby closed his eyes and shook his head.
“I tried to tell Buddy, ‘Don't worry about missing free throws because we shouldn't have put him in that situation,'” Osby said. “We can't blame anybody. Stephen F. Austin is walking out of here with their heads high. ... That keeps hitting home right now. Just frustrated.”
Pledger and Hornbeak scored 12 points apiece to lead the Sooners. Taylor Smith had 14 for SFA.
“I just wanted to get midrange shots,” Pledger said. He finished the game 6 of 14 on field goals. “That gets everybody going. I wanted to hit shots so we would start coming back. When they see me going, I know the team's going to follow suit.”
For the second straight game, Kruger opted to go to his bench early, first replacing starter Isaiah Cousins with Hield only a minute and a half in.
Then, due to Osby racking up early fouls, Kruger was left to switch up his rotation. By the end of the first half, eight Oklahoma players had scored, and Kruger had played multiple rotations of players, fitting them here and there to try to make Oklahoma's basketball puzzle start to fall into place.
“It's frustrating because you want to be out there helping the team,” Osby said about watching much of the first half from the bench. “I know Fitzgerald and Amath have experience, guys like that. I knew they'd be able to take care of the job.”
Yet for the second straight game, M'Baye didn't produce. He took two shots and made one basket, a layup for Oklahoma's first points of the game.