Tony Crocker had 29 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night against Centenary, in the first half! Scoring 11 of the team's first 13 points Crocker helped Oklahoma jump out to a 13-0 lead over the Gentlemen and for the fourth game in a row the Sooners cruised to a double digit victory.
Crocker was joined by teammate Tiny Gallon in recording a double-double as Oklahoma's big man finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Other than Crocker (11-19) and Gallon (7-11) the Sooners had a poor shooting night. As a team OU shot 34-73 from the floor (46.6%) and 10-30 from three point range (33.3%). Tommy Mason-Griffin (4-9), Willie Warren (4-13) and Cade Davis (0-7) all struggled from the floor making Crocker's performance all the more significant.
"(Tony) Crocker had a great first half. It’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen live. He was just in one of those zones. He is a streaky shooter and earlier this morning in shootaround I watched him make about 15 in a row. The whole time he was saying ‘I don’t think I can miss.’ I guess it carried over to tonight. One of the things I liked was that all of his shots early came within the flow of the offense. He was terrific." - Jeff Capel
With guys like Warren and Gallon who can have big nights and take over games the Sooners need a third option to keep defenses from being able to shutdown all scoring options. You may be able to stop one guy from killing you, if you're good you can focus on two scorers but it's extremely difficult to stop three. Crocker is now officially the x-factor for the Sooners which means that there will be nights where OU will live or die based on how he plays. Last night was a night where the thrived on Crocker's ability to score when his teammates couldn't.
In the pregame post I said that the two things the Sooners would need to do to secure a win was dominate the boards and play their roles within the offense. OU had a 49-33 rebounding advantage which led to 15 second chance points and the team relied on the hot shooter to lead them to a win.
I don't think that anyone would say that this is Crocker's team. Willie Warren is still the most dangerous scoring threat the Sooners have but on a night where his shots weren't falling, (0-6) from three-point range, he relied on someone else to spark the team. That's learning your place and in my opinion shows the kind of leadership the team was missing earlier in the season.
Nailing 7 three-pointers helped Crocker score a career high 33 points and his 13 rebounds provided his second double-double of the season. If all that wasn't enough he also had three blocked shots to help Oklahoma's defensive effort of holding Centenary to 37% shooting from the floor.