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Sooners Rally To Beat Oklahoma State In Stillwater

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma State brought the energy but Oklahoma brought the execution.

The latter ended up making all the difference.

The Cowboys played with as much fire and energy as they have in weeks but the Sooners stood their ground, came up with key answers and made plays down the stretch to earn a hard-fought 77-74 victory against OSU in Stillwater.

Buddy Hield was huge for the Sooners all day with a team-best 22 points but, after OU had been treading water and thwarting OSU's efforts to pull away, his back-to-back 3-pointers in the waning minutes proved to be exactly what OU needed to get over the hump.

Hield swung the game from a three-point OU deficit to a three-point Sooner lead with one minute remaining, sucking the air out of a Gallagher-Iba crowd that had seen its team let an eight-point second-half advantage slip away.

Following the lead-gaining 3 by Hield, the Sooners calmly put the game away on 6-of-6 free-throw shooting in the final 31 seconds to keep OSU at arm's length despite converted 3-pointers from Markel Brown and Phil Forte.

A last-second 3-point heave from Brown fell short at the buzzer that could have potentially forced overtime.

And free throws weren't just big for the Sooners, they were equally vital to the Cowboys but on the opposite end of the spectrum.

A typically-proficient OSU team couldn't get the ball in the basket from the stripe, shooting just 12-of-22 and missing several costly front end shots on one-and-one opportunities in the second half that allowed the Sooners to stay within striking distance.

Forte said those missed free-throws, particularly the failed one-and-ones of which he was responsible for three, are the first place to look to explain this Bedlam loss for OSU.

"We usually make our free throws. It's something we usually take a lot of pride in," Forte said sternly. "I think it cost us the game."

Oklahoma State (16-9, 4-8 Big 12) outshot OU 46.7 percent to 40.3, but the Sooners buried 12 3's and hit 15-of-21 free throws to put them over the top. And it seemed like all 12 of those 3's came at crucial times.

It was the sixth-consecutive loss for OSU, while OU (19-7, 8-5) was able to bounce back from a disappointing loss against Texas Tech. Sooner coach Lon Kruger was pleased with the way his team was able to stave off a high-octane, high-energy effort from Oklahoma State.

"It was a really hard-fought game all the way," Kruger said. "I believe both teams really left everything out on the court today. I thought Oklahoma State really controlled the second half of the game. We weren't playing with the rhythm I would have liked us to, but I'm really proud of our guys for staying in there until the end. They hit some big 3s at the end and also made their free throws. Big win of course and Bedlam is always a big win for us. I couldn't be any more proud of our guys."

The Cowboys were led by Brown's 26 points and nine rebounds, while Forte chipped in 16 points and Le'Bryan Nash turned in a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.

Outside of Hield's 22, the Sooners got 12 points and 13 rebounds from Ryan Spangler. The bench also came up huge for Oklahoma, outscoring the Cowboys' second unit 34-1.

Frank Booker led the charge off the bench with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including a cold-blooded 4-for-6 effort from 3-point range.

OSU has a quick turnaround with a trip to Waco to face Baylor on Monday at 8 p.m.

The Sooners have a week to prepare before hosting Kansas State in Norman at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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