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February 16, 2014

Fantastic finish fitting for Bedlam

STILLWATER — As an historic arena that never really seemed more than two-thirds full emptied, Oklahoma State’s students, maybe 150 more true believers and the cheerleaders and poms, sang the OSU chant , or whatever they call it at the state’s second university.

It was kind of sweet.

Their team has fallen apart, their coach must be on the way out. Once a Final Four favorite, the Pokes can’t possibly think they have a path into the NCAA tournament beyond winning the Big 12 tournament. And still, there was this core, this base, sticking around beyond the bitter end.

Impressive.

Just nowhere near as impressive as Oklahoma’s last 1:48 Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena. 

It has to be the Sooners’ best 1:48 of the season, and while it may not have saved the season — because it probably didn’t need saving, at least not yet — it sure as heck helped, sending OU past OSU 77-74.

Oh, what the Sooner women, who are in Gallagher-Iba at noon today, would do to have even 30 seconds of their male counterparts’ last 1:48.

“They hung in there and kept grinding,” OU coach Lon Kruger said.

They did much more than that. 

Over the last 1:48, OU scored 12 points, allowed five, and did not miss a shot, from the field where Buddy Hield hit two huge 3-pointers, or from the free-throw line where Jordan Woodard and Je’lon Hornbeak combined to make six straight free throws.

“Everybody started playing their role,” Hield said. “Everybody started playing together.”

It actually began with Kruger, who was drawing up plays for Hield even though Hield had been 3 of 13 from 3-point land before the final 1:48.

Then Hield had to make them, which he did. Then OU had to get stops, something it had managed only once in eight Cowboy trips down the floor prior to the last 1:48. But the Sooners did that, too, making it an 8-0 run when Woodard followed Hield’s 3-pointers with two free throws that made it 73-68 with 31 seconds remaining.

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