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Oklahoma basketball: Sooners edge Oral Roberts

Romero Osby's free throws with 2:58 remaining put Oklahoma ahead to stay, and the Sooners rallied to beat Oral Roberts 63-62 Wednesday night.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: November 28, 2012
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photo - Oral Roberts' D.J. Jackson, right, moves down court under pressure from Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins, left, during a basketball game at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Photo by Matt Barnard, Tulsa World
Oral Roberts' D.J. Jackson, right, moves down court under pressure from Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins, left, during a basketball game at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Photo by Matt Barnard, Tulsa World

— Amath M'Baye struggled beneath the basket until he wrestled the ball free.

Then he pumped his fist.

The junior forward and his Sooners had gotten off to another slow, sloppy start against Oral Roberts, but they heated up in the second half to come away with a 63-62 victory at the Mabee Center on Wednesday night.

M'Baye deserved much of the credit for that comeback, thanks to a four-minute stretch in which he made two baskets and helped bring Oklahoma to its first lead since the game's opening minutes.

“It was a tough game,” M'Baye said. “We just battled back. They've definitely got a great team. I'll take the ‘W' any day of the week. It's something we need and we love.”

Something else Oklahoma needed was better rhythm at the start of the game. Oklahoma lost its two-point lead within the first five minutes of the game. From there, the Sooners suffered a 10-point deficit at the hands of junior Steven Roundtree and senior Warren Niles.

Oklahoma had marked Niles as a man to be covered in the game. The senior guard came into the night averaging 20.8 points a game.

“You wouldn't have known it by the way we guarded him in the first half,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “I like their team. Coach (Scott) Sutton has done a great job with him. We knew how it was going to be.”

Niles was the leading scorer of the first half with 12 points, but Oklahoma also had its share of offensive struggles.

The Sooners came out cold. M'Baye scored just six points in the first half. His teammates combined for five turnovers. Oklahoma was also cold from beyond the arc, going 0-for-4 on 3-pointers in the first half.

And it didn't look like much would change in the second half. The Sooners brought their deficit within four but quickly found themselves 10 points down again after Niles made a layup and a jumper.

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