The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 20, 2014

Sooner defense coming together in Big 12 play

NORMAN — Two weeks ago, Oklahoma probably would’ve lost to Baylor. A week ago, there probably would’ve been a different outcome than Saturday’s 66-64 victory over the 12th-ranked Bears.

Through the first 16 games, OU just wasn’t good enough defensively to overcome an awful shooting half like the one it experienced in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

But that’s why this past week was a seminal week for the 25th-ranked Sooners (14-4, 3-2 Big 12). The second half of Tuesday’s loss at Kansas State, coupled with the performance against the Bears, is the best defense they’ve played all season.

“I thought the second half at Kansas State was a start,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “A couple good days of practice transferred pretty good today. Playing good clubs every night out so we've got to keep getting better especially on that end of the floor.”

Over the last six quarters, the shooting percentage OU has allowed is 41.2 percent (45 for 109) and the 3-point percentage defense has dropped 32.1 percent (9 for 28).

Against Baylor, it was what allowed OU to win on a day it shot just 39.3 percent and get a 1-1 road split during a week the Sooners shot just 36.0 percent during the two games.

The defensive leap came at the perfect time. Saturday’s victory allowed OU to get through a brutal part of the Big 12 schedule, where it played its first five games against the four teams that had been ranked conference play started — Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor — as well as Texas.

Kansas currently leads the conference at 4-0. Kansas State is second at 4-1. The Sooners are tied with Oklahoma State and Texas at 3-2. The Cyclones are 2-3 and Baylor is a disappointing 1-3.

The win Saturday, staying above .500 and braving what appears to be the toughest 21⁄2 week stretch of the season is a momentum boost.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.49.44 AM.png Julian Wilson, Geneo Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches....

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woodard joins successful soccer team in Stillwater

    Haley Woodard has been one of the preeminent multi-sport stars in the state for several years. The Norman North senior is a state champion in track and soccer and has been an integral part of a basketball team that’s been to back-to-back ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014

  • Aggie’s QB Chuckie Keeton talk dominates Mountain West media day

    LAS VEGAS — Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton got his junior season off to a superb start, only to have it derailed by a knee injury in Game 6....

    July 24, 2014

  • Heavily favored U.S. group faces off against world’s best female golfers

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The inaugural International Crown is unique for what it isn’t. Thirty-two elite players from eight countries will compete at Caves Valley Golf Club to determine which nation has the best women’s players in the world. ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Weir, DeLaet attempt to end 60-year Open drought

    MONTREAL — Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open....

    July 24, 2014

  • NCAA infractions chair responds to ‘cheating pays’

    The chairman of the NCAA’s infractions committee says a number of factors could be the cause for the lack of activity by the group that prompted Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to call the enforcement program “broken.”

    July 23, 2014

Facebook