For Oklahoma to find any success in conference play this basketball season they're going to need a lot more of what they got from freshman guard Calvin Newell on Tuesday night. From all appearances, opponents have figured out that Andrew Fitzgerald is the main scoring threat for the Sooners and shutting him down alters the game plan. Cincinnati did it and the Sooners struggled. Sacramento State did it and OU still thrived offensively. The difference? Calvin Newell.
Powell scored 15 points against Arkansas on December 1st but had pretty much been a no show since then. That is until Tuesday night when he rediscovered his stroke. With the Hornet defense focusing on shutting down Fitzgerald in the paint the Sooners were in desperate need to find a way to score from the outside and that's exactly what Newell provided.
Newell went 5-6 from three-point range Tuesday night (6-8 total from the floor) to score 17 points for the Sooners and spark Oklahoma's offense outside the paint. His contribution didn't end there though. Sacramento State's Sultan Toles-Bay started out three-for-three from long range to give the Hornets a 9-7 lead over the Sooners. Then Jeff Capel inserted Newell to man up on Toles-Bay and he only made one more shot from long range in a total of 12 attempts.
Of Oklahoma's 66 points Tuesday night 46 of them came outside the paint which is a trend that will have to continue as the Sooners move on through the remainder of the season. Consistency it going to be the key to success from this point on. Oklahoma has to consistently get solid guard play to hope of being competitive in conference. When the guards are off things are going to be much like they were Saturday night against Cincinnati where they just can't quite get it done. However, if they can find some consistency then things could be interesting. I guess we have two more non-conference games to see which way they may go.