MANHATTAN, Kan. — The last time Oklahoma played at Kansas State, Sooner guard Steven Pledger was eerily quiet. He didn’t say much on the court or on the bench. There was just this stare that told everyone he was locked in to what he had to do.
After scoring 30 points in what became OU’s 63-60 victory over the Wildcats on Jan. 28, 2012, his teammates fully understood the icy exterior.
“You can tell when Steve’s in locked-in mode,” guard Sam Grooms said. “I’ve known this since he was 15 and he’s had games like that a lot. When he’s locked in, he’s got that look in his eye. I remember him being focused. Every timeout, he wouldn’t say too much. We were wondering if he was OK, but you’d look at him and he’d have that killer look in his eye. You could tell he wanted to win. He was a dead-eye shooter, and nothing was going to stop him from winning that game.”
Pledger didn’t remember the look, but the game was one where he was seeing everything perfectly.
“The ball was just finding me,” he said. “There would be a loose ball and it would pop out and come straight into my hands and I would let it fly.”
The performance was one of the most memorable of the senior’s career. After all, there aren’t many games when someone scores nearly half of the underdog’s points in an upset road victory over a ranked team.
However, Pledger has had three 30-point games during his career. Earlier in the 2011-2012 season, Pledger went off for 31 points to lead the Sooners to an All-College Classic victory over Houston.
A year earlier, Pledger scored 38 points in an overtime victory at Iowa State. It’s performances like that are the difference between winning and losing on the road.