The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 20, 2013

Sooners push focus forward

NORMAN — There was no sulking at Oklahoma’s practice on Monday. The first day back on the court wasn’t the time to think about the heartache from Saturday’s gut-wrenching loss at Oklahoma State.

The future was all that mattered.

“Guys have done a good job all year of just focusing on the next ballgame, which you have to do,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “It was a tough loss when you lead a game most of the way and you were in shape to finish and you don’t, it hurts a bit more. It’s part of the game. There’s going to be games like that through the year and the key is bouncing back from those and playing better than you did in the previous one.”

The next one comes at 6 tonight when OU (16-8, 7-5 Big 12) faces Texas Tech (9-14, 2-10) at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

This one and the next five to close the regular season will ultimately decide whether the Sooners are worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid, and it’s not a secret. Then again, neither is the fact that teams’ energy levels sink in the final weeks of the regular season.

“Everyone is tired and everyone is running on fumes. The energy and effort comes down to being tough at the end of the year,” OU forward Romero Osby said. “Everyone is tired, so there isn’t one person who can use that as an excuse. We have to be ready for it.”

That’s where the challenge comes from tonight. What also ended over the weekend were the regular-season games OU could win in upset fashion.

The remaining six games on OU’s schedule feature just two teams with winning conference records — Baylor on Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center and Iowa State at home March 2. Both are 7-5 in the league.

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