Oklahoma sends Kansas to third straight lossBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Feb 9, 2013 8:01 PM EST
NORMAN, Okla. -- Losing streaks are rare for Kansas, but the Jayhawks are mired in one right now. Oklahoma, meanwhile, celebrated its first win against a top-five opponent under coach Lon Kruger after beating the No. 5 Jayhawks 72-66 Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners celebrated in style, too. Fans mobbed the court as time expired, the second time this week the Jayhawks have been at the center of such a scene on an opposing team's home floor. "When you beat a Kansas team, you always feel good about it," Kruger said. "I'm really happy for the players and the fans because those spontaneous celebrations are something you can't put a value on." The Jayhawks, already reeling from an upset Wednesday at TCU, now have to deal with their first three-game losing streak since 2005. Oklahoma was the team that handed the Jayhawks a third straight loss that season, and the Sooners did it again Saturday behind 17 points from Romero Osby and 15 from Steven Pledger. "Our last two efforts haven't been great efforts, but we gave a decent effort out there today," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It just wasn't good enough. I hate to say this, but there's a lot of teams in the country that lose two or three games in a row. There's a lot of teams that struggle winning away from home. "This today isn't magnified from a win-loss standpoint near as much if we'd have taken care of business when we should have the prior games." The Sooners (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) never trailed in the second half, though Kansas (19-4, 7-3) made a charge in the final minute. Elijah Johnson hit a 3-pointer to pull the Jayhawks to 67-64 with 37 seconds to play, and Ben McLemore's tip-in closed the deficit to 68-66 with 18 seconds on the clock. Oklahoma freshman Je'lon Hornbeak, a 63 percent foul shooter, hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute, including two that put the Sooners in front 70-66 with 15 seconds to play. Johnson missed a driving layup at the other end, and two free throws from Cameron Clark sealed the victory for the Sooners. "I like being at the free-throw line at the end," Hornbeak said. "It's good to know the team is really looking for you to make that big step. I missed two. I'm not really happy about that -- they went in and out on me -- but the last two I knew exactly where I needed to put the ball at." Freshman Buddy Hield capped the win with a breakaway dunk that came a split-second after the buzzer, sending Sooners fans spilling onto the court in celebration. "I see it on TV and I wished we could get something like that to happen," Pledger said. "When I turned around, everybody was rushing to me, so I just started jumping, too." Oklahoma led 38-34 after a fast-paced first half that saw the Sooners shoot 56 percent from the floor. Kansas closed to a point midway through the second half, but the Sooners responded with eight straight points to lead 53-46. McLemore led Kansas with 15 points and center Jeff Withey scored 14. The Jayhawks made just 11 of 20 free throws -- 7 of 14 in the second half. "We didn't make enough plays to win, but we actually competed pretty hard," Self said. "If you make your free throws and do a couple things, it could have been a different outcome." NOTES: Withey blocked one shot to tie the school record of 264 set by Greg Ostertag. ... Forward Kevin Young returned to the Kansas starting lineup after coming off the bench against TCU. Young has started 19 of the Jayhawks' past 20 games. ... Freshman guard Isaiah Cousins was in Oklahoma's starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 18. Cousins had started the first 10 games. ... The win was Oklahoma's first against a top-five opponent since an 82-72 victory over Texas in 2006. It also snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Jayhawks.
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