NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger saw the mob running toward him, but instinct told him not to flee.
“I turned around and everyone was rushing to me. So I started jumping, too,” he said.
The Sooners’ 72-66 victory over No. 5 Kansas unleashed that kind of emotion early Saturday evening at Lloyd Noble Center. A dormant basketball program and its fanbase met at center court to celebrate the Sooners’ first victory over a top-10 team since 2009 and the first over a team ranked in the top five since 2006.
There was a lot of “first since” after Saturday’s victory.
The most important for OU was, the first time since its Jan. 24 win over Baylor, that OU actually shot the ball well, which happened to coincide with its last victory.
The Sooners (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) were an energetic, disciplined bunch that didn’t suffer through many offensive lulls. They were aggressive from the opening tip for the final 34 1/2 minutes.
“That’s always our goal every game, to try to be more active and make it mean more to us than it does the other team. Kansas always has energy,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Kansas coach (Bill) Self does a great job. They’ve been doing that for years, having great energy. But we wanted to come out and set the tone ourselves, stay within our own element and play as hard as we could.”
The Sooners did that by getting forward Romero Osby and Steven Pledger going early. It was a 180-degree turn from what happened two weeks ago when the teams met at Kansas.
Osby struggled getting shots to fall over Jayhawk center Jeff Withey. Pledger just couldn’t get shots up.
It was a different game at Lloyd Noble Center.
Osby scored 17 points and was 6 for 8 from the field and 4 for 5 from the free-throw line.