NORMAN — The last time Oklahoma left Lloyd Noble Center’s court, its feet were barely on the floor. Saturday’s victory over No. 5 Kansas sent the team and its fans into a state of euphoria that hasn’t been expressed in nearly two decades.
It was a wild celebration, which OU coach Lon Kruger saw no reason to restrain. His team won a big home game in front of a big crowd.
“The crowds have been great. At Big 12 games, they’ve been outstanding. The value of spontaneous celebrations, especially for the students, they’re hard to determine. They are important, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s a step, but it’s a small step. There are a lot of steps necessary. It happens because these guys have worked hard and continue to work at it and maintain a really good attitude about getting better. That’s what we have to continue to focus on.”
The focus was there on Saturday. The Sooners shot 44.8 percent, ending not only a two-game losing streak but also a two-game run of games shooting under 40 percent.
Most importantly, OU matched the energy of a desperate Kansas team. The Jayhawks had also lost two straight heading into Saturday’s game and needed a win to remain alone atop the Big 12 standings.
“That’s always our goal every game, to try to be more active and make it mean more to us than it does the other team. Kansas always has energy. Coach Self does a great job. They’ve been doing that for years, having great energy,” said OU forward Romero Osby, who scored a game-high 17 points. “But we wanted to come out and set the tone ourselves, stay within our own element and play as hard as we could.”
The Sooners (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) did that for 40 minutes. Now comes the hard part: they have to do it again at 6 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center against TCU (10-13, 1-9).