The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 15, 2014

More than bragging rights at stake when Sooners face Pokes

NORMAN — The one thing that defines college basketball teams at this point in the season is movement. All of them are heading in one of two directions — up or down.

As Oklahoma and Oklahoma State prepare to cross paths for the second time at 1 p.m. today at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, the outcome will be telling in that regard.

The Sooners (18-7, 7-5 Big 12) have lost three of their last four games and are coming off an eight-point home loss to Texas Tech that was their most surprising of the season.

The Cowboys (16-8, 4-7) have tumbled from a top 10 team to one that has lost five straight and six of their last seven.

One of these teams is going to gain some momentum today. Whether it is OU depends on which team shows up.

“I’d hate to call it a wake-up call,” OU point guard Jordan Woodard said of the Texas Tech loss. “But it has helped us refocus as a team and bunker down and get back to what we do when we’re at our best and that’s defending and getting out and running.”

OU coach Lon Kruger did not hit the panic button following Wednesday’s loss to Texas Tech. What he harped on was the learning experience that it presented. His team has a lot of capable scorers, but never has it been, and nor will it be, good enough to play unfocused and get away with it against a Big 12 opponent.

“We gotta get better. We can’t feel like we’re playing well enough. It’s that way for everyone in the Big 12,” Kruger said.

The Sooners were an extremely focused team when they beat then eighth-ranked Oklahoma State, 88-76, at Lloyd Noble Center on Jan. 27.

It was a game where OU was on the attack early, got the Cowboys playing on their heels and controlled the game throughout.

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