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February 24, 2013

Grooms sparks Sooners in dominating win over Bears

NORMAN — Two teams heading in opposite directions met at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. Oklahoma’s 90-76 victory over Baylor was a classic case of a team progressing and another being stuck in a rut.

The Sooners, who improved to 18-8 overall and 9-5 in the Big 12 Conference, simply weren’t the team the Bears (16-11, 7-7) thought they would be.

Seven minutes into the game, OU point guard Sam Grooms had the ball just outside the 3-point line. Baylor guard Pierre Jackson dropped back deep in the paint.

The old book on Grooms said he wouldn’t take the shot.

“When he backed off, it caught me off guard a little bit because I had made a couple shots before and in the last game or whatnot,” Grooms said.

The 3-pointer he sank registered the first of a career-high 23 points for the Sooner point guard.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Over the last three games (at Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor), Grooms is averaging 17.7 points.

It stunned the Bears.

“He was just aggressive,” Jackson said of Grooms. “He did not think twice about shooting some of those shots he does not usually take and he knocked them down.”

It didn’t take OU long to knock the Bears out. The Sooners never trailed and led by double digits for the last 25 minutes.

Pledger scored 17 points in the first half and was 7 for 9 from the field. Romero Osby added 17 point and eight rebounds and freshman guard Je’lon Hornbeack added 13 points despite chipping his two front teeth in the first half.

The Sooners’ 47-21 advantage was their largest lead of the season.

“I thought the first half we were pretty good offensively and maybe a little better defensively,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought we opened the game focused. They’ve done a great job of getting each other ready to play, and I thought they did that again today.”

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