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January 6, 2014

Sooner men giving up points, picking up lessons

NORMAN — One of Oklahoma deficiencies was there for all to see Saturday night at Texas. It gives up too many points. But it does learn from past experiences.

Five days after an excruciating overtime loss to Louisiana Tech to end the non-conference slate the Sooners rallied from seven down with about eight minutes to play to win the Big 12 Conference opener at Texas, 88-85.

The learning experience came from what OU did in the final minutes. Down seven with the game three quarters of the way through happens a lot in conference play. It’s usually about that time when blowouts start emerging or the ones that come down to the last possession emerge.

One team usually makes a run at that point to pull away or tie it up. The Sooners made the run, closing the game with a 27-17 run.

That’s when was at its best. There was a three-minute span from about the 3:30 mark where OU held the Longhorns without a basket to grab the lead and eventually build it up to six points. The offensive execution in the final 90 seconds was virtually flawless with the Sooners scoring on five of its last six possessions.

“The opportunity was there to go either direction, and when you get a little bit of a lead inside that last minute, it’s hard to finish a game. It’s hard to get a win,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “We gave up a couple of buckets. I thought Texas hit a couple of tough shots during that time. I thought our guys played it pretty well, but Texas is good, so they knocked them down anyway. But I thought our last minute was executed pretty well."

The lesson: hang in there and until good things happen and then pounce when they do.

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