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OU basketball: Sooners exorcise demons from Texas' comeback win with rout of Iowa State

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY — It wasn't exactly the same situation, but it was close. Oklahoma up big in the second half, trying to fend off a challenge. On Wednesday, the Sooners wilted and lost to Texas. On Saturday, OU closed Iowa State out, routing the Cyclones 86-69.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 2, 2013

photo - Oklahoma's Sam Grooms (1) drives past Iowa State Cyclone's Korie Lucious (13) as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men play the Iowa State Cyclones in NCAA, college basketball at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013  in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Sam Grooms (1) drives past Iowa State Cyclone's Korie Lucious (13) as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men play the Iowa State Cyclones in NCAA, college basketball at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Better yet, they took care of business late. And now we can absolutely declare the 19-9 Sooners in the NCAA Tournament, even if Kruger won't.

“We're fans,” Kruger said. “We're reading, we're talking, just like everyone else. But our approach can't change. Whether I say it or not, think it or not, the only healthy way to approach it is to think, we gotta have one more.”

Come to think of it, that's not a bad way to look at a big lead, either.

Kruger admitted his troops had long faces when they showed up for practice Thursday. But Friday's practice was much better. And Saturday, the Sooners played one of their most complete games of the season: 44.2 percent shooting, only five turnovers, only four offensive rebounds by Iowa State and an NCAA record-tying 34 foul shots without a miss.

“A tribute to the leadership of Ro and the other guys,” Kruger repeated. “Players maybe get over it more quickly than fans and coaches do.”

Iowa State had dominated OU 83-64 at Ames a month ago. This time, it was reversed. With no letdown.

Iowa State launched 31 3-pointers, plus four more deep 2-pointers, but the Cyclones' barrage of outside shots never caught fire until it was too late for even a Texas-like comeback. Stringtown's Tyrus McGee nailed three treys in the final 31/2 minutes, but by then, even the antsy crowd knew the Sooners couldn't lose this one.

“Something we didn't want to let happen to us again,” Osby said. “Coach has been on us, making every possession important.”

It's a hard way to learn a lesson, but consider it learned.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.