Oklahoma's 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State on Monday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena was similar to a loss Saturday to Kansas; the Sooners' opponent used a sustained run to create separation.
OU trailed 21-20 with just under five minutes left before halftime. The Cowboys closed the first half on a 14-2 run to lead 35-22 at halftime.
“We haven't responded to that very well,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “We've got to regroup, regain our composure more quickly. We just have to fight harder, work harder. There's not any shortcut to it, especially when you're not making shots.”
BLAIR PROVIDES A SPARK
The one bright spot for the Sooners was backup point guard Carl Blair posted a double-double, scoring a season high 20 points. Blair also grabbed a season high 10 rebounds.
“We need what Carl gave us tonight,” Kruger said. “I thought he got after (Keiton Page) defensively. Ten rebounds is terrific from the guard spot... That will be contagious. We need more guys that are laying it out there like that.”
0-3 START NOT A GOOD OMEN
Over the past three decades, four Sooner teams have started conference play 0-3. The 2003-04 team was the only one to post an overall winning record, compiling 20 wins but failing to reach the NCAA Tournament.
OU's other two teams that started league play 0-3 both failed to finish above .500 overall — Billy Tubbs' first team in 1980-81 and last year's team.
“It's a hurting feeling right now losing these games,” Blair said. “We have to turn it around. No more excuses. We have to push forward and keep working hard... (Our confidence) is still high. We know we can still win. We just have to get in the gym and work hard.”
The Sooners host No. 18 Kansas State Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
OU grabbed 22 offensive rebounds to score 15 second-chance points, 34 in-the-paint points. ... For the first time all season, point guard Sam Grooms did not have an assist. Grooms had three turnovers. ... Andrew Fitzgerald continues to battle foul trouble. Fitzgerald picked up his fourth foul with 11:28 remaining. ... Blair drew a technical foul when he slapped the ball out of Page's hands while Page was trying to inbound the ball. ... The Sooners committed only 10 turnovers but had only seven assists. ... Sixth man Tyler Neal hasn't scored a basket in league play, averaging 0.3 points in three losses.