Tiny Gallon was a high school McDonald's All-American as was Tommy Mason-Griffin. Steven Pledger wasn't but he still arrived in Norman with a ton of accolades. All three were exceptional in their Sooner debuts on Saturday but none more than Pledger who led the Sooners to a 95-71 win over Mount Saint Mary's.
Tiny Gallon gave the Sooners a double-double in his regular season debut by scoring 18 points and grabbing, a Blake Griffin like, 15 rebounds. Unlike Griffin, Gallon went a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe. Tommy Mason-Griffin scored 11 points and dished out four assists as well. Andrew Fitzgerald, another Oklahoma freshman, scored 14 points and grabbed 5 boards coming off the bench but it was Pledger leading all scorers with 21 points.
Not only did Steven Pledger score nearly two dozen points, he did it on 8-9 shooting including 4-5 from three-point range.
"I was just running around, basically playing off of Willie driving to the basket," Pledger said. "Whenever he drives, I'm just sneaking around. I know he knows where I'm at. ... It's easy to play with big-name guys."
If Pledger keeps dropping off performances like this then he's going to quickly become one of those "big-name guys."
It was obvious that Mt. Saint Mary's defensive strategy was to crash in on Willie Warren and make someone else beat them. That's precisely what happened as the Sooners showed that they are much more than a one-man show. Although Warren's court-mates are lacking experience they sure aren't lacking an ability to score. With a total of five players scoring in double figures the Sooners can hurt you from anywhere on the floor, including the charity stripe where OU shot 25-28 which is a far cry from last season.
Tiny Gallon proved that he'll be more than adequate in replacing Blake Griffin in the post. His double-double helped pave the way to a 44-27 OU advantage on the boards leading to 20 second chance points. That's a stat you'd like to take every week.
It's not like the Sooners did everything right on Saturday though. Oklahoma turned the ball over 15 times leading to 18 points for the Mountaineers. Of those 15 turnovers, 9 of them were steals. This means that OU must do a better job at protecting the ball even if they have players dominating under the basket and shooting lights out from the floor.