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March 24, 2013

Aztecs were better by half

PHILADELPHIA — The second half was once again unkind to Oklahoma in Friday night’s 70-55 loss to San Diego State at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sooners led 33-31 at halftime, but were outscored 39-22 after the intermission.

Over the final 11 games this season, OU held the halftime lead in 10 of them. The season-ending loss became the fourth in that stretch where OU lost despite winning the first half, joining the Feb. 16 loss at Oklahoma State, the Feb. 27 loss at Texas and the loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament.

In those four games, the Sooners were outscored by an average of 16.5 points in the second half.

Pledger finished second: Senior guard Steven Pledger battled foul trouble and played just 22 minutes Friday night. He was 1 for 6 from 3-point range but still finished with 249 3-pointers over his four-year career. That leaves him second on OU’s all-time list behind Terry Evans (259).

Over the final three games, Pledger was just 2 for 16 from 3-point range. He shot 37.8 percent (42 for 111) during Big 12 Conference play.

Spark from Cousins: Freshman guard Isaiah Cousins played 22 solid minutes Friday. The six points he scored were his highest total since getting seven against Kansas on Feb. 9. Cousins’ five rebounds matched a season high and were the most by an OU player against the Aztecs other than Romero Osby, who finished with eight.

In the plus/minus category, which counts how many points the team scored and allowed when a player was on the court, Cousins was at zero — every other player was in the negative category.

Tourney records: Friday’s loss dropped the Sooners to 36-27 all-time in the NCAA tournament. This was the program’s 27th appearance.

OU coach Lon Kruger, who became the first coach to guide five different programs to the NCAA tournament this year, fell to 14-14 in the tournament and to 8-6 in the opening round. Kruger had won five of his last seven opening-round games prior to Friday.

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