The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 8, 2012

Sooners struggling to make climb

NORMAN — Oklahoma left the Lloyd Noble Center floor feeling an emotion that has become far too common on Monday. The 71-68 loss to Missouri was another tough loss in a season that’s getting tougher every day.

The loss to the fourth-ranked Tigers was OU’s third straight and dropped them to 13-10 overall and 3-8 in the Big 12 Conference.

It’s not where the Sooners expected to be at this point in the season.

“It is frustrating, I know, to the players, coaches and fans, to everyone to not get the result that we want,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “We just have to keep getting better. We keep telling our guys afterwards, ‘good battle and good work, but we’ve got to keep doing things from a habit standpoint to have more good possessions in a ball game, enough to get over the hump against good basketball teams.’”

That hump has been like Mt. Everest to Sooners. It’s the one it has faced in just about every conference game. It’s there to be climbed with around 10 minutes to go in the game. Teams that win typically make a run around that point and take control of tight game or battle back to even after struggling earlier.

In the last two games against Iowa State and the Tigers, OU’s been trailing at that point and trying to scramble to get back into it.

Against the Cyclones, it was down by eight with 10 minutes. It tied the game a couple minutes later, but the energy it took to get the game back to even was gone.

Monday night, the Sooners only trailed by three with 10 minutes to go. But it never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead until the final possession.

Once again, that hump couldn’t be scaled. Once again, OU is struggling for answers why.

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