NORMAN — Jeff Capel's smile beamed as he trotted off the court and pumped his fist toward the sellout crowd at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Oklahoma coach deserved to smile after achieving his first Bedlam basketball victory, 67-60 over No. 17 Oklahoma State Wednesday night. But he can grin just as wide about his emerging frontcourt tandem of Nate Carter and Longar Longar.
The Sooners might not have the best post players in the country, but they might have the most improved. Perceived as the team's weakness three months ago, the inside game has become OU's strength.
Carter and Longar combined for 31 points and 16 rebounds and accounted for 16 of the Sooners' final 19 points as they pulled away for their first victory of the season over a ranked opponent.
"Coach emphasizes it all the time. He tells the guards we've got to get the ball inside to the big guys,” Longar said. "They're not guarding us in there sometimes and I think when we go inside, we get good looks.
"When we get the ball, we can score or get fouled and we go to the line and make our free throws.”
Carter only got to the line four times — his fewest in a conference game since Jan. 13 — but hit them all. He has made 51 of his last 52 foul shots in Big 12 play
The senior finished with a game-high 18 points, his 10th straight double-digit scoring effort after averaging four points per game in non-conference play.
"We found our go-to guy,” Capel said. "I try not to put roles in stone. If I had put Nate Carter's role in stone at the beginning of the year, you wouldn't have seen what he's doing right now, because it wouldn't have been a very big role.