NORMAN — Oklahoma ended 2012 getting by with defense and grit. It’s added something else to its cache since the calendar flipped to 2013 — proficient shot making.
It was the difference in the Sooners’ 77-68 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.
Every time they needed a basket, they got one — from long distance. The last 10 minutes were an exhibition in momentum-turning 3-pointers.
“Whenever they were getting ready to get over the hump, we’d make a shot to take them from four back to seven, or two back to five. The shots came at critical times,” OU coach Lon Kruger said.
Steven Pledger nailed one with 9:22 to go to stretch OU’s lead back up to five after the Cowboys had made it a one-possession game. Buddy Hield did the same 70 seconds later after the lead had been whittled down to four.
“We had to find a way to make a big basket,” Hield said. “… The 3s were dropping tonight.”
The big baskets all belonged to the Sooners in this season’s first edition of Bedlam.
The Sooners (11-3, 2-0 Big 12) picked them up from one usual suspect. Romero Osby led them with 17 points. The offensive production from Hield (15 points) and Amath M’Baye (15) were the difference.
M’Baye went on a 7-0 run by himself late in the second half that put the game away. It ended with an alley-oop dunk off an inbound pass from Sam Grooms with 4 minutes to go that put OU up by 13.
But it started with a 3-pointer from the corner that was the junior forward’s first of the season. Hield went 3 for 5 from 3-point range. Freshman guard Je’lon Hornbeak was 2 for 2 from beyond the arc.
“We didn’t expect them to make that many 3s. We didn’t expect the players who made 3s to make them,” said OSU guard Markel Brown, who scored a game-high 19 points.