Jeff Capel’s Oklahoma Sooners came into the rescheduled game in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma (12-9, 4-3) was looking for its fourth straight conference win against Baylor (14-7, 4-4), and got it with a 73-66 victory.
Cameron Clark had a season-high 25 points and seven rebounds, but Carl Blair had by far his best game of the season. Blair filled-up the stat sheet with 19 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals.
Both players willed the Sooners to victory when bad weather was really the headline across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
“As a team we realized we had to buckle down,” Blair said. “In order to win, we had to get stops. We played great defense.”
It was an extremely boisterous crowd, as die-hard Sooner fans braced the winter and icy conditions to get to the Lloyd Noble Center to support the Sooners.
The Sooners Athletic Department opened-up the game and rewarded anyone that wanted to come to support the Sooners under bad weather conditions, with free admission into the game.
The Sooners got off to very slow start in front of a partisan crowd of about 6,000 at the Lloyd Noble Center, and was outscored by Baylor when they went on a 20-10 run early in the first half.
Cade Davis (0 points) and Steven Pledger (3 points) struggled with low-scoring halves uncharacteristic of how they both had been playing in previous games.
The Sooners came to within 39-34 at halftime with a driving layup by Carl Blair with about five seconds left in the first half and managed to gain the momentum going into the locker room.
Cameron Clark was the key to keeping the Sooners in contention. He had an exceptional first half, scoring 15 points, grabbing three rebounds, dishing-out one assist, and grabbing one steal.
But Clark also had the most exciting moment of the half when he slammed dunked a missed jumpshot back in for two on a rim-rattling momentum-changing play for the Sooners. His dunk, got the Sooner faithful buzzing again, and also changed the face of the game.
The Sooners kept that momentum coming out of half-time and went on a 24-3 run early in the second half and didn’t relinquish the lead after they took it over.
They out-shot Baylor in the game from the field by making 48.2 percent on 27-of-56 , as opposed to 47.3 percent on 26-of-55 for the Bears.
Both teams shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, as the Sooners went 12-for-15, and the Bears went 8-for-10. The Sooners also won the turnover battle by only turning it over 12 times, as opposed to the Bears’ 16.
Steven Pledger got into double figures and hit a couple of crucial jumpshots in the second half when Oklahoma needed them the most. Pledger finished with 10 points in an encore performance after his career-high of 38 in the Sooners’ win against Iowa State.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching this team, especially the past few weeks,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. “Just watching these guys grow.”
For Baylor, it was a balanced attack but to no avail. Perry Jones scored 19, Anthony Jones added 16, LaceDarius Dunn had 15, and Quincy Acy 11.
The Sooners play Bedlam against Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater and are going for their fifth straight conference victory.
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