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Pargo's career-high day falls short as Oklahoma edges Gonzaga

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma planned to make Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo try to win the game from long range. A well-timed lunge by Austin Johnson prevented Pargo from doing just that.

Longar Longar scored 16 points, including the go-ahead basket, and the Sooners overcame a scintillating, 28-point performance by Pargo to upset the Bulldogs 72-68 Thursday night.

For a time, it appeared Pargo would will Gonzaga (No. 20 ESPN, USA Today, No. 18 AP) to victory with the most impressive performance of his career but he ran dry with just enough time for Oklahoma (9-3) to rally.

Pargo hit five straight shots and scored all of the Zags' points during a 12-5 surge that propelled Gonzaga (9-3) into the lead late in the second half but then couldn't connect in crunch time to finish the game.

After Pargo's airball on a 3-pointer from the right wing, Oklahoma took a 67-66 lead on Longar's right-handed hook shot in the lane with 1:38 remaining and then hit enough free throws down the stretch to hang on.

"That was exhausting," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "What a great college basketball game. ... I'm just really proud of our kids for being able to gut out a win down the stretch."

Pargo, whose 28 points were a career high, had two final chances to tie it. After Blake Griffin hit one of two free throws to give Oklahoma a 70-68 lead, Pargo charged under the basket and missed a layup underneath with 12 seconds left.

He had another opportunity when David Godbold also hit only one of two at the foul line, but Johnson blocked Pargo's 3-point try, tracked down the loose ball and then hit one free throw with 0.2 seconds left to provide the final margin.

"He got going and so we had to make an adjustment. We put A.J. back on him because of his length, his size and he was able to bother a couple of his shots," Capel said.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few didn't call timeout after Godbold's free throw with 10.2 seconds left, counting on Pargo to make something happen. But when Pargo loaded up his shot from the left wing, Johnson was able to leap and get a piece of it.

"I used my length to my strength," Johnson said.

Pargo had been shooting only 5-for-29 from 3-point range entering the game, all but one of his 3-pointers coming in a win against Connecticut. He was 1-for-22 in Gonzaga's other 10 games.

He went 4-for-8 from long range against the Sooners, and created off the dribble, too.

"I never worry about him in a big game like this. He's got a big heart and a lot of confidence and he's fearless," Few said. "Usually the bigger the game, the better he is. I just wish he had some company."

Gonzaga continued to get closer to full strength, with Matt Bouldin (ankle) returning after missing the Zags' last game and Josh Heytvelt (ankle) making his first appearance of the season, but no one was able to provide much help. Pargo made 11 of Gonzaga's 27 baskets and was the only one to score in double figures.

Heytvelt, Gonzaga's top returning scorer, was suspended the final nine games of last season for drug possession and then had surgery in November to fix a stress fracture in his right ankle. He went 2-for-7 and scored five points in 15 minutes.

"He really, really wanted to play. I was kind of wanting him to get some more time in so he wouldn't have to go through a struggling performance like this his first game back," Few said. "His foot's safe. It's definitely safe. It's just a matter of getting him in game shape

Griffin and Tony Crocker each scored 15 points, and Griffin had 14 rebounds as Oklahoma won its second straight game after a disappointing loss to Stephen F. Austin.

Neither team was able to pull ahead in a game that was tied 14 times and had 16 lead changes.

Following a driving layup and a 3-pointer by Pargo, the Bulldogs built their biggest lead at 46-41 before allowing Oklahoma to counter with a 17-8 run that concluded with Griffin's tip-in for a four-point lead.

That's when Pargo took over again. He converted a layup and then back-to-back 3-pointers in a personal 8-0 spurt that put Gonzaga up 62-58 and then answered a pair of Oklahoma baskets to keep the Bulldogs in front.

But on his way to playing the full 40 minutes, he eventually ran out of steam and Oklahoma capitalized.

"It's a big win but you keep it in perspective. It's still December," Capel said. "We have a lot of season left. We haven't got to conference yet."

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