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Oklahoma basketball: Veterans step up when younger Sooners struggle

OU's veteran depth is what has saved the team in times of confused youth, but youth is what has helped spurn talk about Selection Sunday, Big 12 championship runs and dancing in March.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: February 17, 2013

/articleid/3756552/1/pictures/1956011">Photo - Oklahoma's Amath M'Baye (22) tries to get by Oklahoma State's Brian Williams (4) during the Bedlam men's college basketball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and the University of Oklahoma Sooners at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Amath M'Baye (22) tries to get by Oklahoma State's Brian Williams (4) during the Bedlam men's college basketball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and the University of Oklahoma Sooners at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

He did it against Texas Tech and Kansas State, too.

“Points sometimes are hard to come by, so any time you can get them, you like that,” Kruger said. “Cam seems to do that, getting back-to-back buckets or three in a row real quickly. That's always nice whenever anyone can do that — whether it's Cam or anyone else.”

Fitzgerald has been adding rebounds defensively. In Oklahoma's last 10 games, Fitzgerald has grabbed 40 rebounds in 152 minutes — including eight boards in 12 minutes at Kansas; five in 17 minutes at Baylor; six in 16 minutes against Kansas State; and seven in 17 minutes against Iowa State.

That's 10.52 rebounds per 40 minutes.

“I think it's me working again,” Fitzgerald said about his improved rebounding in conference play. “It's just me staying aggressive. I'm just going to stay aggressive and keep going after boards.”

Now, with a handful of young talent that has pushed its aggression early and veteran depth that pushed in lulls, Oklahoma is a totally different team. For the first time in four years, there's talk of postseason tournament runs. And that makes the Sooners — the young and the old — very happy.


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