In the first game played at OU's McCasland Field House in 38 years, Oklahoma beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 72-42. It was OU's second-largest victory margin of the season (beat ULM by 34 in season opener).
"The field house is great,” said Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger. “It gets a good crowd and good activity. I thought the crowd the other night was fantastic, and this crowd was good and into it. I think people enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to come back into the field house and relive memories. We had a few players from the 40s come back, and that was great, too."
Senior guard Steven Pledger led OU in scoring for the second straight game, registering a game-high 17 points with the help of 5-for-10 3-point shooting in his 20 minutes. Pledger, who moved into 27th place on OU's career scoring list with 1,160 points, ranks fourth in school history with 205 treys (trails third-place Tim Heskett by 10 makes).
"Moving was good,” said Kruger. “I thought we moved the ball pretty well. There were a lot of good shots. These two (Steven Pledger and Amath M'Baye) stepped up and made shots, and it's good to see that. It gives a good foundation and a good cornerstone to work from, and I think the other guys gain confidence when other guys are stepping up there and making shots."
Twelve Sooners saw action today, and 11 played at least 10 minutes. Ten OU players scored, with six of them recording at least seven points. No Sooner played more than 23 minutes.
"It was good to finish non-conference play with not only a win, but a game where we had a lot of guys who stepped up and played well and made shots and moved the ball well,” said Kruger. “We had good activity on the floor, and now we have a few days in preparation for the Big 12 opener. Guys have done a good job in making progress and understanding that we have a long ways to go, and we've got to keep working at it and keep getting better, but we're going to keep doing that and we're looking forward to a week of preparation."
Oklahoma forced 18 turnovers against a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team that entered the game averaging 11.8 per contest. The Sooners posted an 11-3 advantage in points off turnovers and have outscored their opponents 198-131 in the category on the year. The Islanders finished with 3 assists. OU held the Islanders to .293 field goal shooting, an opponent season low. A&M-Corpus Christi was 3-for-14 from behind the 3-point line (.214).
"They've made progress. The feeling of doing it five-on-five defensively, communicating a little better, reacting to one another a little better and more naturally. These 12 games have been an opportunity to make progress. There were a lot of close ball games, which is good, and a lot of games on the road, that's been good, too. We've got to focus on rebounding and focus on taking good care of the ball and shooting the ball with good rhythm. All these things have been a work in progress throughout, and we're taking steps in the right direction."
Oklahoma is off until Saturday when it opens Big 12 Conference play at West Virginia at 3 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by the Big 12 Network.
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