The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 7, 2013

Seniors lead Sooners to victory in Lloyd Noble finale

NORMAN — One streak ended for Oklahoma on Wednesday, but a more important one continued. It rolled past West Virginia, 83-70, at Lloyd Noble Center to claim its fifth straight home victory.

The win also lifted the Sooners to 20-9 overall and 11-6 in the Big 12 Conference, with only Saturday’s regular-season finale at TCU remaining.

For the fourth straight home game, OU never trailed. The run is now up to 194 minutes and 26 seconds without trailing on its home floor.

Romero Osby and Steven Pledger helped ensure that string grew. Osby scored a game-high 26 points, and Steven Pledger poured in 23 in both player’s last games at Lloyd Noble Center.

The emotions didn’t pour out after the game. OU celebrated Senior Day last Saturday prior to the victory over Iowa State.

Nonetheless, the victory had major sentimental value because it brought OU one step closer to the NCAA Tournament berth it has coveted for four years, but it secured OU’s first 20-win season since 2009.

“It meant a lot,” Pledger said. “I’ve been here all four years and (have) been through the ups and downs. It definitely meant a lot to me.”

The Sooners’ seniors were major contributors. Point guard Sam Grooms was 3 for 3 from the field and finished with eight points and three assists. Andrew Fitzgerald only scored five points, but they all come during a critical stretch with a few minutes left.

The Mountaineers (13-17, 6-11 Big 12) trailed by as many as 17 in the first half but whittled the deficit down to four points.

Then Fitzgerald converted a three-point play and sank a jumper after a steal by Grooms to kick the lead back up nine, 73-64, with four minutes to go.

West Virginia didn’t get any closer.

“The last game here was bitter sweet,” Osby said. “It was the last game here, but at least we got a win. It was great. We appreciate all the support. It’s been a long time coming. I’m just glad we could get a win on the last night.”

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