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February 8, 2013

Some things to sort out before facing Kansas

NORMAN — A team’s trajectory can change very quickly. Oklahoma looked like it was shooting upward after its 74-71 victory over Baylor last Wednesday. A week later, it’s working to end a two-game losing streak.

After a 52-50 loss to No. 13 Kansas State last Saturday followed by a humbling 83-64 defeat at Iowa State, the Sooners know how quickly things change.

“We were feeling pretty good after Baylor. A week later, we’re feeling pretty poorly,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “That’s the nature of conference play. You’re gonna get a couple games where you feel good. You lose a couple, and you feel bad. We just have to keep working on playing better and doing things better.”

There wasn’t anything that couldn’t use improvement after Monday’s loss to the Cyclones. OU (14-7, 5-4) was out-shot (50.9 percent to 36.6 percent), out-defended, out-hustled and out-played in a game where it fell behind early and didn’t do much to get back into.

It was of the only games this season the Sooners’ competitive drive came into question.

“We were flat from the beginning to the end of that game,” OU guard Steven Pledger said.

Kruger doesn’t believe that will carry over into Saturday’s showdown with No. 5 Kansas (19-3, 7-2).

Nevertheless, the shooting slump can’t either. The Sooners have shot 37.5 percent (45 for 120) over the last two games. Throw is a 6-for-30 effort from 3-point range and an 18-for-31 performance from the free-throw line and it’s easy to see that a lot of OU’s recent woes stem from the offensive end.

“We’ve been working on moving the ball and making plays for each other and not worrying about who scores,” OU forward Romero Osby said. “When we’ve done that, those are the games that we’ve shot the ball best and everyone has had more confidence.”

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