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Oklahoma hands Kansas its 3rd straight loss
Norman, OK (Sports Network) - Romero Osby scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting as the Oklahoma Sooners ended their 10-game losing streak to Kansas and kept the fifth-ranked Jayhawks in a tailspin with a 72-66 victory at Lloyd Noble Center.
Kansas has lost three straight for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The final loss in that skid came against the Sooners on Feb. 21, 2005, which also happened to be Oklahoma's last victory over the Big 12 powerhouse.
Steven Pledger chipped in 15 points for Oklahoma (15-7, 6-4 Big 12), which never trailed in the second half despite several late runs by the Jayhawks.
Bill Self was visibly disappointed with Kansas' performance on Wednesday at TCU, when the Jayhawks were upset by a team that had lost eight straight games, but he seemed more optimistic after Saturday's setback.
"I'm not leaving out of here disgusted with my team at all because we actually played better today. We played a good team today and they shot the heck out of the basketball," said Self, whose team shot just 11-of-20 from the foul line. "Our last two efforts haven't been great efforts, but today we gave a decent effort and it just wasn't good enough."
Things don't get any easier for the Jayhawks (19-4, 7-3) on Monday, when they host No. 13 Kansas State.
Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey netted 15 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss.
Kansas trailed by nine midway through the second half, but went on a run and had a chance to tie the game at the foul line with 4:13 remaining. But Travis Releford made just 1-of-2 free throws, and Pledger drained a critical 3- pointer at the other end for a 63-59 lead.
After a series of empty possessions, a Withey dunk pulled Kansas within two before Oklahoma's Je'lon Hornbeak was left wide open for a 3-pointer from the right wing, yielding a 66-61 edge with 1:29 to play.
Elijah Johnson missed at the other end for Kansas, but his triple with 37.4 seconds left forced the Sooners to seal the outcome at the free throw line, where they went 5-of-6 down the stretch to hold on for a signature win.
"When you beat a Kansas team you always feel good about it," Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger said. "A lot of different guys stepped up and made plays and made shots there late."
The Jayhawks were much better offensively than they were against TCU, when they made three first-half field goals, but they still trailed 38-34 at halftime. Oklahoma came out and shot 56 percent from the field in the first half against the nation's top defense in terms of field goal percentage.
Kansas stepped up on the defensive end in the early stages of the second half, forcing the Sooners into six straight misses to pull within 47-46 following two Perry Ellis free throws with just under 12 minutes to play.
But Oklahoma scored on its next five possessions, the last three coming on a bucket from Cameron Clark as the margin extended to 57-48 past the midway point.
Oklahoma matched its entire win total from last season ... The Sooners wound up shooting 45 percent from the floor ... Kansas' opponents came in shooting 35.6 percent on the season ... Clark scored 10 points, as did Johnson ... Kansas recorded just one blocked shot after averaging 7.3 over its first 22 games.
02/09 19:58:34 ET
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