NORMAN, Okla. (AP)Grant Sherfield scored 22 points and Oklahoma went on a 12-0 run early in the second half on their way to a 79-65 win over No. 12 Kansas State on Tuesday night.
The win snapped a seven-game Big 12 conference losing streak for the Sooners (13-13, 3-10 Big 12) and prevented the Wildcats (19-7, 7-6) and first-year coach Jerome Tang from earning their 20th win of the year.
Sherfield leads Oklahoma in scoring and assists on the season, but coach Porter Moser felt he took them to a different level in this game.
”I thought Grant had his best floor game since he’s worn a Sooner uniform,” said Moser. ”The ball went where it needed to go. He had six assists and had a bunch of other (passes) that led to fouls. He was just so locked in. He had eight rebounds. Best overall communication game that he’s had.”
Tanner Groves scored 16 while freshman Milos Uzan added 13 for Oklahoma. Nae’quan Tomlin had 17 points – 13 of them in the first half – and 10 rebounds to pace Kansas State.
Sherfield’s 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds of the opening half sent the teams into intermission tied at 36.
The Wildcats got the first basket of the second half, and then the Sooners scored 12 straight to move to a 48-38 lead early in the second half, spurred by threes from Sherfield, Groves and Uzan. Oklahoma shot 11-for-23 (47.8%) and went on to lead by as many as 16. Kansas State got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
It was the Wildcats second straight conference loss and both were to teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. Coach Tang hopes this is a wake up call for his team, who he says is less than a lock for NCAA tournament play.
”(Oklahoma) kicked our butts and they deserve all the credit in the world for that. We did not play hard enough to deserve to win tonight,” said Tang. ”We have to win at least two more games to get to the NCAA tournament. That was my message to them that we gotta figure this thing out.”
It was Oklahoma’s first conference win in a month, since a one-point win at home over West Virginia. With the loss, Kansas State fell into a fifth place tie with Oklahoma State in the Big 12 race.
Kansas State – Tang was trying to become just the fourth Wildcats coach to win 20 games in his first season, joining Lon Krueger, Bob Huggins and Frank Martin. He is currently still tied for the winningest first year head coach this season with Sean Miller of Xavier and Dennis Gates of Missouri.
Oklahoma – The Sooners shot 14% better from three than their season average. The Sooners avoided their eighth straight conference loss, which last occurred in the 2011-12 season.
Kansas State – Host No. 19 Iowa State on Saturday.
Oklahoma – Visits No. 6 Texas on Saturday.