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January 16, 2013

MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: OU stays hot; NSU breaks chill

NORMAN  — Oklahoma forward Romero Osby’s recent offensive surge continued Wednesday night against Texas Tech, and as a result, the Sooners seem primed for their biggest Big 12 Conference game in several years.

Osby scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of Oklahoma’s 81-63 win over Texas Tech, which extended the Sooners’ winning streak to five games, matching their longest under second-year coach Lon Kruger.

Oklahoma (12-3, 3-0) remained tied atop the Big 12 standings with No. 4 Kansas and No. 16 Kansas State, heading into a showdown Saturday at K-State, Kruger’s alma mater. At least a share of first place will be on the line.

“We are going to have to continue to play better," Kruger said. "Like Ro said, our challenge is to keep improving our habits and keep playing better basketball. We are playing better basketball right now and the challenge is to keep doing that and everything else will take care of itself. We need to focus on playing better each possession and certainly you have to do that, especially on the road in a tough place."

“The Sooners have won seven of their last eight games in Norman against Texas Tech (8-7, 1-3). Dejan Kravic scored 20 points for the Red Raiders, who have lost three straight games after opening conference play by winning at TCU.

Oklahoma led almost all the way but had just a 34-29 halftime lead, that only because Andrew Fitzgerald scored 10 first-half points. Osby, who entered the game having averaged 15.9 points during the Sooners’ previous seven games, had just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.

"The second half Ro came out with good energy and we definitely wanted to throw it inside to him," Kruger said. "He did a good job of getting into position in there a little bit more physically and finished the opportunities."

On Oklahoma’s first possession of the second half, he got the basketball and nailed a jump shot over Kravic. Osby went on to score the Sooners’ first four baskets of the half, and he and Buddy Hield, who scored 16 points, combined to score all of Oklahoma’s 21 points in the first seven minutes of the half.

That allowed Oklahoma to stretch its lead to 13 points with 13:22 left and Texas Tech came no closer than six points after that.

"My coach and my teammates were finding me in certain spots," Osby said.

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