Stephen Pledger scored 14 of his 15 points in the second half to lead Oklahoma to a 74-63 win over Ohio at the Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma shot .708 from the field in the second half (17-for-24) to outscore Ohio 45-34 after halftime. The Sooners improved to 8-3 while Ohio fell to 8-5.
"It was a good win over a good ball club,” said Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger. “Ohio is really solid and (head coach) Jim Christian does a good job with them, so I feel real good about the stretch we played in the second half. I thought it was as good as we've had all year on both ends of the floor. In the second half we got off to a great start. Everyone was kicking in, starting with (Steven) Pledger making shots early and picked everyone else up. They all responded in a good way. A lot of good activity defensively as well. They're a ball club that spreads you out and is tough to guard. Our guys, as a unit, had good communication and reacted well to one another."
Pledger's 18 points were a season high. The senior was 1-for-8 from the field in the first half but went 6-for-8 in the second. He scored nine straight points between the 13:41 and 11:22 marks of the second half on 4-for-4 shooting. Pledger made two 3-pointers on the night to move into sole possession of fourth place on OU's career list (200 makes).
M'Baye's point total was his second highest of the season, and he added a team-high-tying 6 rebounds. The junior, who had totaled 3 points and 4 rebounds over the last two games, was 6-for-8 from the field tonight and logged a season-high 3 steals.
"A lot of guys gave big contributions,” said Kruger. “Again, you look at these three guys (Pledger, Romero Osby and Amath M'Baye), of course they led the way in scoring. (Buddy) Hield's line was good with steals and assists. I thought Sam (Grooms) came in and gave us a nice lift when Je'lon (Hornbeak) picked up two fouls. Cam (Clark) came in and did a good job. This was a type of win you like because a lot of guys contributed in significant ways."
The Sooners owned a 22-10 advantage in points off turnovers. OU forced 18 turnovers while committing just 11. Its first turnover didn't occur until 7:38 remained in the first half.
"Again, (Ohio's) got a good group of guys,” said Kruger. “They have a veteran group and a lot of guys that can make shots. They spread you, use a lot of ball screens. I thought our big guys did a good job. D.J. Cooper is such a terrific player. Everybody for the most part was on him, but we had a lot of help, out of our big guys primarily. Our big guys were aggressive and getting after Cooper, and he still had a good game. He's that good of a player. We gave him a lot of attention and he still had a good game."
The Sooners are back in action Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. when they host Texas A&M Corpus-Christi at McCasland Field House. The "Field House Series" game will mark the first regular season contest inside the building since the regular season finale in 1975.
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