Originally Published: Feb 20, 2010 7:14 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
NORMAN, Oklahoma – Playing without starting guard Willie Warren, the Oklahoma men started strong but could not keep up with No. 7 Kansas State on the way to an 83-68 loss Saturday.
Warren sat out for the third time in the last five games, but his absence was not felt immediately. Andrew Fitzgerald stepped into the starting lineup, and he and Tiny Gallon combined to score 16 first-half points.
Down 12-10, OU (13-13, 4-8) went on an 8-0 run sparked by Gallon to take the lead. The Sooners led by as much as eight points at one point and held the advantage for the majority of the first half. But they did not make a field goal in the final six minutes of the half and went into the locker room down 35-33.
The teams remained close at the beginning of the second half, and the Sooners cut the lead to 50-49. But Kansas State (22-4, 9-3) hit three consecutive 3-pointers to increase its lead to 10, and the Wildcats never looked back from there.
KSU built a lead of 16 points, and Oklahoma began forcing long and contested shots. The Sooners used only two bench players all night, and the starters – particularly Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin – began showing signs of fatigue.
OU went on a short second-half run but never cut the lead to less than eight. Kansas State’s Denis Clemente was dominant all night, especially from long range. He finished with a game-high 27 points and went 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
Kansas State as a whole shot well from beyond the arc; at one point, the Wildcats five 3-pointers in a row. They finished shooting 10-of-20.
Five different Sooners scored in double digits, with Tommy-Mason Griffin leading the way with 16. Andrew Fitzgerald finished with 14 points and five rebounds, but did not pull down any boards in the second half.
The Sooners also struggled from long range, going just 8-of-23 from beyond the arc. No OU player made more than 50 percent of their 3-point attempts.
Oklahoma has now lost four games in a row and will face a brutal stretch to finish the season. The Sooners’ final four games are against Kansas, Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M, all of which are nationally ranked.
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