NCAA BK

Sat, Feb 8, 2014 - 7:00 PM ET
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It would be easy for Oklahoma to make excuses for its first two-game skid of the season, but coach Lon Kruger isn't letting his players off that easily.

Baylor has only itself to blame for its steep decline.

The 21st-ranked Sooners look to snap out of their funk by winning a fourth straight meeting with the visiting Bears on Saturday night.

Oklahoma (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) began a four-game winning streak with a 66-64 victory over then-No. 12 Baylor on Jan. 18, but it ended with last Saturday's 81-75 loss at No. 16 Iowa State.

That defeat preceded Tuesday's 91-86 overtime loss to West Virginia, though the Sooners faced numerous travel complications on their trip and arrived at the arena only 90 minutes before tip-off.

''It was pretty tough having to travel and having to keep thinking about where we were going to end up,'' said freshman Jordan Woodard, who scored a team-high 23 points and added eight assists. "We knew we were going to get there eventually, and whenever we got there we were going to keep it between the lines.''

Kruger didn't use those conditions as an excuse for Oklahoma, which rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit. It was on its way to a victory until West Virginia's Eron Harris hit a tying 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in regulation.

"I didn't see any effect of (the travel)," Kruger said. "These guys are young and they just love to play.

"I thought our guys did a good job in the second half of fighting back and doing what they had to do to put themselves in the position to have a chance to win a ballgame."

Baylor, meanwhile, is having trouble finding any positives after it fell 69-52 to No. 8 Kansas on Tuesday. It hoped to be getting back on track after a 76-70 win at then-No. 8 Oklahoma State last Saturday that ended a five-game losing streak.

Cory Jefferson scored 14 points for the Bears (14-8, 2-7), who began the season 13-2 and rose as high as No. 7 in the AP poll. They shot a season-worst 29.1 percent from the field and scored their fewest points of 2013-14.

''Round 1 is over in the league. We have to do better in Round 2,'' coach Scott Drew said. ''The good thing is I believe we can win every game, but with the Big 12 being like it is we can lose every game. We have to make sure we play well to have a chance to win.''

Baylor is 0-15 all-time against Oklahoma teams ranked in the Top 25, including the first meeting when Buddy Hield scored all 19 of his points in the second half for the then-No. 25 Sooners.

Ryan Spangler had seven points and nine rebounds in that contest for Oklahoma. At 11.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, he's one of only 14 players nationally averaging a double-double.

The Sooners are tied for ninth in the country in scoring at 83.7 points per game, though Baylor is second in the Big 12 in scoring defense at 67.9 per game.

''I feel like this team has still got something special,'' Bears forward Rico Gathers said. ''We've just got to start going out when we get a win and build on it instead of regressing. As long as we do that, we're going to be in the running."

These teams have split the last 10 meetings following Oklahoma's 30-game winning streak in the series.

Tagged: Oklahoma, Baylor

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