Grooms can't pull it out for Sooners vs. K-State
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) While he played the least of any Oklahoma player Saturday against Kansas State, Sam Grooms arguably had the biggest impact for the Sooners.
The freshman guard logged only 12 minutes, but what he did in the game's frantic final minute nearly gave the Sooners a win over the country's No. 18 team.
Angel Rodriguez hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 52-50 victory.
In the final minute, Grooms hit a 3-pointer and tied the game with a driving layup with 13 seconds left that capped an 8-0 run. It also pulled the Sooners even with the Wildcats for the first time since the 7:30 mark of the first half.
"Sam gave us a good spark and gave us some attack," Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger said. "We didn't have much attack and Sam got it going downhill sometimes, we needed some of that."
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber did not call a timeout after the layup or on the ensuing possession. Rodriguez drove by Grooms into the lane and was fouled, and he made both free throws to give Kansas State the lead.
"I was expecting the ball screen," Grooms said. "They had been running ball screens all night. My read said he was going right, but he went left. Credit him, he made the right read."
Just as Weber had done, Kruger also did not call a timeout after the two free throws and Grooms had a chance to win the game for Oklahoma. However, his 3-pointer at the buzzer was short and Kansas State survived.
"We wanted to get it in quickly to Sam and then push it," Kruger said. "We didn't get that done quickly in the backcourt, we used up some time. But their guys kept that from happening. They won a lot of battles on the day, and they won that one, too."
The win kept the Wildcats (17-4, 6-2) in second place in the Big 12, one game behind Kansas. For the Sooners (14-6, 5-3), it was their third loss in their last five games after starting Big 12 play 3-0.
"We realize today that we have a long way to go," Kruger said. "There is nothing wrong with that. With this group of people, they have done a great job and made a lot of progress. Today's a reminder that we still have a ways to go."
Will Spradling led the Wildcats (17-4, 6-2) with 12 points, including five in a row after the Sooners pulled within one with 11:27 to go. Their leading scorer, Rodney McGruder, was held to seven points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Osby had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead the Sooners (14-6, 5-3), who had no other player reach double figures in scoring.
"They were into it and dictated for most of the night with their defense," Kruger said. "We had trouble getting separation and trouble scoring. Credit Kansas State, they were the better club and deserved to win."
Open looks were hard to come by for both teams and neither made more than 40 percent of their shots. Oklahoma was held scoreless for over 10 minutes, including the last 6:27 of the first half, but Kansas State was only able to go on a 6-0 run during that stretch to take a 30-23 lead.
The Wildcats were without McGruder and Spradling due to foul trouble for much of that stretch, but Weber credited Oklahoma's defense with keeping the game close.
"I thought their defense was as good as it's been," he said. "They were locked in. They fought through screens, hedged hard, they were scrambling. They did everything tough. I thought we hurt ourselves with some questionable shots at different times, but on the road you have to find a way to win and that's all that matters."
Updated February 2, 2013