NORMAN — Minutes after recording his seventh double-double of the season, Oklahoma forward Romero Osby still had the energy to repeatedly toss and catch his 2-year-old daughter, Saniya, in the Lloyd Noble Center stands.
Several OU players made significant contributions to help the Sooners end a six-game losing streak Wednesday night. But it was Osby's 16 points and 13 rebounds and defense that was the foundation of a 77-64 win over Oklahoma State.
“I just wanted to go out and give effort for my team on the defensive end and try to get rebounds. I wasn't really concerned with my scoring,” Osby said. “The coaches kind of challenged me to go out and get double-figure rebounds and get back to my normal self.”
By his standards, Osby was in a rebounding slump. That's misleading. He's third in the Big 12 Conference (7.7). But over the past month Osby was averaging “only” 5.4 rebounds.
Bedlam was his first double-double since a 16-point, 11-rebound performance a month ago against Baylor.
“I needed this to get some confidence,” Osby said. “I credit my teammates for playing really good defense which gave me a chance to get some rebounds.”
Down 30-12 at halftime, the Cowboys were scorching hot to start the second half, closing to within 42-39. After OSU missed back-to-back potential game-tying 3-pointers, Osby scored in the post. Two possessions later the versatile power forward drained an 18-footer.
As quickly as OU's 18-point lead nearly evaporated, the Sooners regained control. OU owned a double-digit lead the final nine minutes.
“It feels good,” Osby said. “We really needed this win.”
One of Osby's subtle contributions was his defense on OSU freshman star Le'Bryan Nash, who was 3-of-15 from the field.
“I guarded him a lot but we did a lot of things where we did some big-on-big switching,” Osby said. “I can't take all the credit for guarding him. C.J. (Washington) did a good job and Fitz (Andrew Fitzgerald) did as well.”
Nash and Cowboys sharpshooter Keiton Page were a combined 2-of-15 the first half when OU played one of its best defensive halves of the season. OSU had more than twice as many turnovers (nine) as made baskets (four).
Page heated up in the second half, but Nash never got going.
“Ro and C.J. really worked hard, but I thought our other guys did a good job to help clog up the lane a little bit when he drove it,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “He's a terrific player. It takes more than just the effort of one guy.”
The win ended three weeks of frustration. But win or lose, Osby has the luxury of embracing smiling family members after home games.
His fiancé, Shalonda, and daughter joined him over the holiday break. When they decided to move the wedding up to this summer, he persuaded his two ladies to stay with him in Norman instead of returning to Mississippi.
“I missed her and the baby so much,” Osby said. “It's so great every day to come home and see them. It's been really great for me.”