The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

March 1, 2013

It might be hard for Sooners to put game that got away in rearview

NORMAN — Spend four decades coaching college basketball and there will be indelible games. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger conceded that Wednesday’s 92-86 overtime loss at Texas was one that will forever stick in his mind.

“There’s a few that kinda linger and that one will linger as much as any,” he said Thursday after the Sooners’ practice.

There are ample reasons why that will be the case. Losing a 22-point lead with slightly less than eight minutes to play is the obvious one.

But don’t forget the implications the loss could have on the Sooners’ NCAA Tournament hopes, their spot in the Big 12 standings, or that they had Texas — one of OU’s biggest basketball rivals — on the ropes in its own arena and let it slip away.

OU (18-9, 9-6 Big 12) muffed a chance to move into fourth place by itself in the conference standings. The loss dropped it from No. 21 to No. 29 in the Ratings Percentage Index.

For anyone in OU’s practice gym Thursday, the final minutes of regulation and overtime were a nightmare.

Amath M’Baye, who scored 16 points, turned into the lightning rod. It was his downward “Hook ‘em Horns” sign after a dunk that gave the Sooners a 22-point lead with 7:54 to go that seemed to invigorate the Longhorns.

“I’m just an energy guy and I get hyped. I was just excited. It’s a common sign between the two teams. You see it every day on TV,” he said. “It wasn’t like I was trying to be disrespectful.”

Hundreds of OU players — in every sport it competes against Texas in — have done it before. It would be insane to think he’ll be the last.

“Sometimes you have tough nights, and he (M’Baye) really played well last night. He really did some really good things for us last night,” said OU forward Romero Osby, who scored a career-high 31 points Wednesday. “We’re not blaming him; we’re not blaming anybody. We’re just looking at our ourselves and what we need to work on.”

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