Junior point guard Sam Grooms dished out 10 assists and scored a season-high 17 points in Oklahoma's 71-68 loss to Missouri Monday night. It was the first time since New Year's Eve that Grooms has scored in double figures.
Coaches have encouraged Grooms to shoot more with defenses sagging off. Grooms was 7-of-9 from the field, including draining five midrange jumpers.
“We've talked to him the past couple of days that elbow jumper is going to be there, so step up and be aggressive,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “He did it with confidence. We liked his attack on the offensive end.”
CLARK IN ANOTHER SLUMP
Sophomore guard Cameron Clark's up-and-down career has hit another speed bump. Clark averaged 9.0 points over a five-game stretch but has averaged only 2.7 points and is shooting 20.0 percent the past three games.
Clark played 16 minutes the first half against Missouri but only two minutes the second half.
“I still think Cam is going to do more,” Kruger said. “We want him to attack and be more aggressive. We think he can. We know he can. We expect him to still. It was great to see Carl (Blair) knock down some shots. We need that from Carl as well.”
Inheriting most of Clark's second-half minutes, Blair registered six points, five rebounds and three assists. Both of his baskets were 3-pointers.
OSBY PLAYS WITH THE FLU
Romero Osby, OU's leading scorer the past month, averaging 16.3 points the previous eight games, played despite battling flu-like symptoms. Osby didn't practice Sunday. The junior forward also has been hampered several weeks by a strained Achilles.
“Ro got a lot of fluids in him today,” Kruger said. “Given the way he was feeling, I was proud of the fact he went out there and battled.”
The Sooners play at Texas Tech Saturday night at 7. The Red Raiders still haven't won a conference game. OU defeated Tech 64-55 three weeks ago in Norman.
OU dominated the boards, outrebounding Missouri 36-22. The Sooners grabbed 13 offensive rebounds that led to a dozen second-chance points. ... Missouri's four-guard offense is vulnerable against big, physical opponents, but the Tigers' one inside player, Ricardo Ratliffe (15 points, 10 rebounds), is solid. ... Kruger essentially has gone with a seven-man rotation with Blair and C.J. Washington (team-high seven rebounds) the two primary players coming off the bench the past few games.