Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
In the home opener for the Oklahoma Sooners, they would face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Oklahoma was projected to win comfortably with their depth, athleticism, and talented freshmen.
However, they got off to a slow start with four turnovers in the opening five minutes of the first half. Things didn't get much better in the realm of shooting and shot selection either. As a team, Oklahoma shot seven shots while coming up with a single made field goal. It wouldn't be until around the 11 minute mark in the first half that the jitters finally wore off.
The kick start OU needed was found in the form of a crowd pleasing alley-oop from Cameron Clark to Tyler Neal (wait a minute, aren't those names in reverse?). From that point on, the Sooners would go on a tear. With nine minutes left, Lon Kruger would employ a havoc style of defense with the full court pressure to go along with the fast break offense resulting in a 38-22 halftime lead.
The best play in the game came in the second half off a turnover from ULM. Isaiah Cousins came up with the steal decided to dish it off the glass, leaving it for a trailing Amath M'Baye to get the jam. Yet, it was Steven Pledger leading the way with 15 points in 18 minutes of play. M'Baye would finish with 12 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks.
Je'lon Hornbeak, a true freshman would see a game high 28 minutes for the Sooners and made great use of them. In a bit of a surprise he contented for player of the game and deserves an honorable mention as a do-it-all kind of guy. Hornbeak poured in 10 points to go along with five rebounds as well as five assits.
In total, the Sooners shot 47.1% from the field while knocking down 75% of their free throws. However, any time a team can shoot near 40% from range, it makes them tough to beat. Oklahoma was 9-23 from three-point land giving them a 39.1% team average in a 85-51 win.
Next up: The Sooners travel to Arlington to take on the UT Arlington Mavericks on Friday, Novemeber 16th.