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Cincinnati Slips Past OU, 56-55

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OU guard Sam Grooms brings the ball up the court against Cincinnati. (AP Photo) OU guard Sam Grooms brings the ball up the court against Cincinnati. (AP Photo)

CINCINNATI, Ohio – It's a good thing the Sooners have another non-conference game remaining, because this one certainly would have left a bitter taste in their mouths.

Cincinnati rallied from a dozen points down to come back and beat the Sooners 56-55 on Thursday night, handing OU its second loss of the season.

Bearcats point guard Cashmere Wright sank a driving layup with 8.8 seconds remaining to put his team on top for good and help Cincy improve to 10-3.

Steven Pledger missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer for the Sooners with three seconds left on the clock.

OU coach Lon Kruger said when you go on the road and have a chance to pick up a quality win, you have to finish it off.

"We had a couple chances to get a stop there late, and we weren't able to do it," he said. "We need to be able to do that, especially on the road to have a chance to win a ball game. We'll learn from it and hopefully get a little better from it."

It was one of those low-scoring games where 12 points seems like a monumental amount to make up.

With six minutes to play, Oklahoma led 49-37 in a gut-check defensive style matchup.

But the Bearcats started with a 10-0 run and outscored the Sooners 19-6 over the final six minutes of the game.

Andre Fitzgerald led the Sooners with 18 points, and Romero Osby put up a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards.

The Sooners shot just 38 percent from the floor, but held Cincinnati to 28 percent.

OU turned the ball over 17 times to the Bearcats' seven.

Kruger said he hopes the game would at least help prepare the Sooners for conference play.

"We talked about being stronger with the basketball and moving the ball down the floor better in late-game situations," he said. "Hopefully, we'll learn from that and it will be an experience that we benefit from."

OU has one more non-conference game before entering Big 12 play, hosting Northwestern State on New Year's Eve. Tipoff for the game is set for 2 p.m.

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