Oklahoma came into this game with a few questions after the announcement that Calvin Newell had left the team and would be transferring to be closer to family. The source of the problem came with family issues that Newell has suffered in the past year. Being from Philly, a kid can get home sick and simply needs to be with family. However, Newell's departure left many Sooner fans wondering where the scoring would be made up. It is safe to say that benching scoring has definitely suffered, yet the slack was picked up by a player who had a season best kind of night.
Cam Clark was expected to do great things this season. Fact is that he had yet to hit a three pointer and live up to the hype that had surrounded his name at the close of Jeff Capel's last season at Oklahoma. The Sooners and Clark started the night off well from behind the arc hitting 11-22 on the night while the starting five were 8-10 from range. Cam Clark finished as the leading scorer with 18 points. As a team, Oklahoma scorched the nets from all over the court ending the night with a 57.4% field goal percentage and 55% from three-point range. To top it all off there were several ally-oops but Clark stole the show with a high flying windmill assisted by Sam Grooms. Those are the type of plays that will get fans excited and hopefully will bring them to the games.
It may have been the best defensive performance by Lon Kruger's team as they forced 22 turnovers out of the Hornets with 16 of those by way of a steal. Add to it the 6 blocks and it was a very successful night to help get this team back on track.
For a majority of the night the rebounding battle found itself at a neck and neck pace. This is one area that we here at CCM have constantly said needs to be an emphasis for Kruger and his system. While it was neck and neck, the Sooners would pull away late and grab 29 to Sacramento St.'s 19 but would still be far below there season average of 43.8. There simply were not that many boards to be had.
All-in-all the officiating got a little chippy as they allowed players to play a little more physical than in previous games. It should be a good tune up for the physicality of the Big XII but there is a point where player safety becomes a concern. Something that was definitely crossed as Steven Pledger came up bleeding after trying to take a charge. The Sooners are now at 5-1 and remain unbeaten at home.