In the beginning, it was the Oklahoma Sooners dictating the pace over the Arkansas Little-Rock Trojans. With a commanding 23 point lead in the first half, Lon Kruger and his squad went into cruise control as boredom set in. The result was a strong offensive performance by the Sooners. But, it was the defense that suffered as UALR fought their way to a 10-2 run to end the half down 59-44.
During the second half, Oklahoma maintained a double-digit lead over their opponent, never trailing. The Sooners hit the century mark as they won by twenty, 101-81, behind a 46% shooting effort.
This is a team that has latched on to the attack mentality. With a few rule changes heading into this season, the opportunity for an astronomical number of free throw attempts are there for the taking. Oklahoma possesses a handful of players with the ability to create shots for themselves. That feature alone leads to an slight hand up when it comes to getting to the charity stripe. So far this season, Lon Kruger has his squad attempting 29 free throws per game.
Cameron Clark is now a senior and has finally found his stride. Throughout his first three seasons as a Sooner, this explosive yet versatile player struggled to produce on a consistent basis. The journey sat him down on the bench which seemed to fan a flame as Clark has some of his best showings under Lon Kruger. Just six games into the season and Clark is now having the best start of his career. In the past three games, this physically gifted combo players has poured in at least 20 points as "consistency" has become his middle name.
Finally, as a fan, you must appreciate the the hustle and fight of this team once again. With just over two minutes left in regulation, bodies were flying all over the floor in an effort to contain a loose ball.
At times, the UALR Trojans were able to exploit a weakness in Oklahoma. This so called weakness has manifested itself in communication during half-court defense. There were multiple occasions in which the Sooners flooded the lane in an attempt to stop the drive. However, in the shift, an opposing player is left open around the three-point line for a wide open shot attempt. Of course, this is an issue that can be fixed with time as OU is a young team starting two newcomers, a pair of sophomores, and a lone senior.
Arkansas-Little Rock: Although Will Neighbour got off to a slow start, he finished the game with a team high 16 points to go alongside 8 rebounds.
Oklahoma Sooners: As Lon Kruger cleared his bench, he had all five starters coming to the sideline with double-digits in scoring headlined by Cameron Clark. On the afternoon, Clark finished with a game high 22 points as he has found his groove.
Ryan Spangler continues to shoot the ball well connecting on 5-of-7 attempts for 11 points. One thing he may need to do more often is take a shot when he has the ball in his hands. However, what sets him apart is the uncanny ability to pull down rebounds. Recording another double-double on the season, Spangler grabbed 10 boards.
Jordan Woodard had himself a career type game with 16 points and four assists.
"Three The Hard Way" finished with a collective 38 points (Buddy Hield - 17, Isaiah Cousins - 14, Je'lon Hornbeak - 7).
The Oklahoma Sooners will face a 4-3 Mercer squad at 8:00 PM CST on Monday in Norman, Oklahoma.