There is no doubt that the Oklahoma Sooners are quickly gaining a larger fan base than what they left off last season with. Behind an up-tempo style of play and a few stars in the making, fans have something to cheer for. Time and time again, we at CCM have said and will continue to say, Lon Kruger has this program moving in the right direction.
On Monday night, the Oklahoma Sooners started sloppy on both ends of the court. However, they jumped out to an early lead over the North Texas Mean Green before the first television timeout. The lead continued to grow into double digits as Oklahoma rode a bit of momentum from the season opener into this game. When the clock hit zero and the buzzer rang, the Sooners walked off the court with a 95-82 win.
Over the past two games, the Sooners have committed a mere 20 turnovers breaking down into 10 per game. Much of the credit goes to the returning experience in guys like Buddy Hield who have proven to possess the ability of making good decisions. Let's not forget about Ryan Spangler. Even though he had three turnovers to his name this go around, he punched a zero on the stat sheet in the first outing against Alabama.
Scoring wise, Oklahoma seemed to find production off the bench not seen before. Tyler Neal stepped in and dropped 12 points after not putting up a double digit scoring game all of last season. Je'lon Hornbeak added another 11 of his own while Frank Booker poured in 9. There is plenty of potential for a guy like Booker to be a bigger contributor but he will need to add some strength to his frame.
A struggle may have been revealed for this young undersized squad that Lon Kruger has. With a 6-10 Keith Coleman banging bodies down low, the Sooners were out-rebounded by a margin of 39-36. As depth is a concern on the blocks, things could potentially get worse assuming Ryan Spangler finds himself in foul trouble.
Another area of improvement for Oklahoma is at the charity stripe. With a young roster, there may be an excuse. But let's be honest...the free throw line hasn't moved since these kids started playing the game. Shooting a dismal 62.5% from the line leaves quite a few points on the court that could be the difference maker in a conference game.
How can you not like what Buddy Hield brings to the table, a high energy player with the potential to take over a game at any moment? After capping off the season opener with a career-high 19 points, Hield outdoes himself and pushes that career mark to 23 points.
Ryan Spangler continues his assault of the non-conference schedule with his physicality. After being named Co-Big XII Newcomer of the Week, he fell one rebound shy of his second consecutive double-double. Spangler has a great future ahead of him if he continues to put up 11 points and 9 rebounds every game.