Feb. 27, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - In his first game in his home state since high school, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh struggled against Oklahoma State and the Bears lost, leading him to say, "I blew it."
As Baylor coach Scott Drew put it, Udoh was "in a little better mood" after his second collegiate game in Oklahoma. Udoh had 20 points with seven blocked shots as No. 24 Baylor beat Oklahoma 70-63, giving the Bears their first win over the Sooners in Norman since December 1977.
Baylor (22-6, 9-5 Big 12) has won five of its last six games and seven of nine after Saturday's win. With games remaining against Texas Tech and Texas, the Bears have equaled the program's record for most Big 12 wins in a season.
A big reason for their success is the 6-foot-10 Udoh, who is from nearby Edmond. Udoh has 122 blocked shots this season, a new conference record. Kelvin Cato of Iowa State set the previous record of 118 during the 1996-97 season.
"My teammates do a good job of funneling the offense down toward me, so I can handle my business," Udoh said. "I've just got to keep it going, because I know somebody is going to come behind me and get it."
Udoh also dominated offensively, finishing 9 of 14 from the field and providing an inside complement to the outside shooting of LaceDarius Dunn, who went 5 of 9 from 3-point range and scored 21 points.
"Any time you get a chance to play in front of so many family and friends in person, you really want to have a good performance," Baylor coach Scott Drew said of Udoh. "Last week, he did on the defensive end ... but I know he normally scores the ball better for us. Today, I just think he was a lot more relaxed down there. He didn't press as much."
Udoh said Saturday that he was too keyed up a week earlier, when he played in Stillwater against Oklahoma State and his best friend, Obi Muonelo. A more relaxed approach against the Sooners proved to be the tonic.
"This week, I tried to stay positive and let the game come to me," Udoh said.
Until this season, Baylor hadn't beaten Oklahoma (13-15, 4-10) since the Big 12 came into existence with the 1996-97 season. But this win gave the Bears a season sweep of the slumping Sooners for the first time since the 1954-55 season.
"It's one less question that everyone has to answer every year when we come up here," Drew said of ending Baylor's long losing streak in Norman.
Tiny Gallon had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Oklahoma, which has lost six straight games and nine of 11. The Sooners, with two regular-season games left, are in danger of posting their first losing season since 1980-81, Billy Tubbs' debut season as Oklahoma's coach.
Oklahoma's starting guards - Tony Crocker, Tommy Mason-Griffin and Cade Davis - combined to finish 7 of 36 from the field. The Sooners, who entered the game leading the Big 12 in made 3-pointers per game, went 2 of 18 from behind the arc.
"It's amazing when you look at our percentage of shooting the basketball that we were actually in this game and had a chance to win late," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "It was just one of those afternoons when we couldn't hit shots."
Oklahoma played without leading scorer Willie Warren, who Capel said is out for the rest of the regular season - and possibly beyond - with a nagging ankle injury.
Gallon's double-double was the seventh of his freshman season for the Sooners.
The Sooners led 56-55 with 4:59 left after a three-point play by Ryan Wright, whose dunk brought Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, who was sitting courtside, to his feet. Wright tied the game at 57 with a free throw with 4:18 left, but Dunn's 3-pointer from the corner with 4 minutes left put the Bears ahead for good at 60-57, although they never pulled away.
Oklahoma pulled within 62-61 with 2:26 left, but didn't score for more than two minutes, partially because of two blocked shots by Udoh. Quincy Acy's free throws put Baylor up 66-61 with 36.8 seconds left. Davis' put-back with 18.6 seconds left pulled the Sooners within 66-63.
Tweety Carter made two free throws for Baylor with 12.8 seconds left, and after Mason-Griffin missed a 3-point shot for Oklahoma, Acy made two more free throws to seal the win. Carter scored 10 points for the Bears, while Acy had nine points and nine rebounds.
Wright added a career-high 14 points for Oklahoma, which used only seven players and lost despite outrebounding the Bears 38-30. Mason-Griffin had eight points and eight assists for the Sooners, who shot 34.3 percent from the field.
"We're a team, we have to do the little things at a very, very high level," Capel said. "They're huge things for us. That's something we've been very inconsistent at."
Baylor will next head to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech, March 2. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.