NORMAN — Oklahoma has lost six consecutive games heading into a Bedlam basketball rematch Wednesday night at Lloyd Noble Center.
Similar to a slumping baseball team that doesn't score runs when it gets good pitching — and lacks good pitching when it scores runs — the Sooners have struggled to put it all together.
A good example is a loss Saturday at Iowa State.
The Sooners received 16 points from Cameron Clark and 22 bench points from Carl Blair and Tyler Neal. But OU's top-three scorers combined for only 19 points after collecting 58 in the first meeting against the Cyclones.
“At times, we've executed pretty well,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “At times, we've rebounded decently. At times, we've covered (defensively) in stretches. But we haven't done those things consistently well.”
One glaring deficiency has been defense. In Big 12 games the Sooners are last in the conference in scoring defense (73.1) and last in field goal percentage defense (47.1).
Could Bedlam, always an emotional matchup, be the game the Sooners finally put it together to end their losing streak?
“We can't give up on this season,” said Carl Blair. “We still have games left. We still have a chance (at postseason). I'm a firm believer that anything is possible. Our whole team pretty much feels that way. We just have to continue to go hard.”
The Sooners were picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 by coaches, but a 3-11 league record is somewhat surprising after going 10-2 in nonconference play.
OU returns every player in the rotation next season other than senior reserve forward C.J. Washington. A strong finish could provide a spark heading into the offseason.
“We can build a little momentum for that, but we're looking at trying to get on a roll these next four games,” said Romero Osby.
Kruger said the focus is winning as many games as possible more than gaining momentum heading into the offseason.
“We haven't gotten the results from a wins standpoint we wanted, for sure,” Kruger said. “But I feel we've played with enthusiasm and generally have played hard most nights.
“We've made some progress, but it hasn't translated into wins. In this league you have do things better than we have to win games.”
The six-game losing streak has dampened hopes of playing in the NIT, but the Sooners (13-13) say they still have a lot to play for.
“We have to figure out what we want. That's all it is,” said point guard Sam Grooms. “We do one thing well one day and then do something else well. Until we completely buy into what we want to do as a team, it's going to be tough to pull everything together.”