LAWRENCE, Kan. —
Osby wasn’t the only Sooner who played with one eye on Withey. Amath M’Baye, who scored 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting, tried to dunk over the 7-footer late in the first half. M’Baye got whistled for a charge and the ball wound up two rows behind the Jayhawks’ bench.
“He’s definitely a good shot-blocker, but it’s on my part,” M’Baye said of Withey. “I think I could have done a better job just making shots. That was the first time I’ve played against a 7-footer, the first time I’ve played against a shot-blocker. As good as he is, I have to take responsibility for making the shots I usually make.”
Everything else OU had to do to give itself a chance to win, it did. Kansas (18-1, 6-0 Big 12) was never able to run away and hide. It only shot 43.6 percent (24 for 55) and OU (13-5, 4-2) forced the Jayhawks into 14 turnovers.
But OU never whittled Kansas’ lead under eight points in the second half. The best it could do was trade baskets.
“I thought we battled defensively,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “We turned the ball over and gave them some points in transition. Still, Kansas is very, very good and we have to play better than we did today to have a chance to hang in there with them.”
Steven Pledger added 10 points for OU. Eight of them came in the first half to help them stay in the game. Buddy Hield finished with nine. However, OU was just 21 for 59 (35.6 percent) from the field.
The Sooners will get another shot at the Jayhawks on Feb. 9 at Lloyd Noble Center. There won’t be any supernatural demons in that game, but getting Withey out of their minds is a different story.
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