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Oklahoma Implements Smothering Defense, Cruises To 85-65 Win Over Idaho

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USA TODAY Sports

Lon Kruger and the Oklahoma Sooners are beginning to settle into a rhythm by dictating pace and enforcing a smothering defense. In their most impressive defensive performance this season, the Sooners produced an 85-65 win over the Idaho Vandals. The effort marks the lowest total against this defense thus far.

We were a little more aggressive," Kruger said. "That's the key. We slid our feet much better on the ball and we went to the ball much better. Everyone is still learning. The officials are still learning. The players are still learning how the game will be called and this one was probably a little tighter with hands than the other two

In the opening minutes, the Vandals built a six point lead behind a few quick three pointers. However, the lead dwindled as Oklahoma pulled ahead and never looked back.

The Good

While Buddy Hield got out to a slow start, there were a handful of others to pick up the slack. Fortunately for the Sooners, that extra boost in scoring came off the bench, a problem area over the past few seasons. Tyler Neal completed a second game in which he found double digits in scoring. On the night, Neal collected 12 points in 19 minutes of play.

There to accompany the aforementioned name in the effort was Je'lon Hornbeak. He seems to have found a niche on the wing now that Jordan Woodard fills the point guard role. Hornbeak added another 12 points as Oklahoma cruised to a 20 point victory.

Lastly, the Sooners showcased the defensive possibilities this team has. A presence in the middle with the capability to be a shot changer may be developing in D.J. Bennett. There is no questioning that Lon Kruger is a great developer of talent as he continues to push this squad to their max.

The Bad

Oklahoma has continued to slump from the charity stripe. Posting a 63.3% outing puts the Sooners below their average for the season. If anything, I'd like to see that number up in the 70s range if not higher as it could cost this squad a close game.

Top Performers

Senior Cameron Clark was back at it pouring in 14 points to lead all scorers for the game.

Ryan Spangler and Buddy Hield added another 13 points each.

Jordan Woodard may not have had his best showing of the season, but he finished the game without a turnover to his name.

Up Next

The Oklahoma Sooners will have eight days off before traveling to Brooklyn to take on Seton Hall in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic.