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.” Longar played well on both ends of the court, blocking four shots and grabbing five offensive rebounds. And after some early struggles, he played strong in the final minutes. "We executed well down the stretch, got the ball in the post,” Longar said. "We got some stops, then came down and executed our offense.” The Cowboys scored on their first 10 second-half possessions to erase OU's 30-20 halftime lead. With the game tied at 48, the Sooners were desperate for a defensive stop. Carter came through. "I saw Longar was guarding Boggan and he scored on a couple plays,” Carter said. "I said, ‘Coach, I'm gonna get on Boggan, I'm gonna guard him.' I just took it upon myself to get us going, somehow, some way.” It worked. The switch produced a steal on the perimeter, and Carter zipped in for a dunk that ignited a 13-2 run for a 59-50 OU lead. The Cowboys got back within 59-56 before Carter scored his final six points to put it away. "We were playing defense at a very high level the last five, seven minutes of the game,” Carter said. "We played with a sense of urgency. That's coach's favorite word, urgency. "We just tried to execute and take the game over in the final five minutes.”
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