For the first time this year, Oklahoma played primarily a zone defense, confounding Texas A&M with a 1-3-1 for much of the game.
The Sooners briefly debuted the defensive look against UT Arlington last week before using it extensively for the first time in Saturday's 64-52 win in Houston.
“Unfortunately it gave us some problems and we weren't prepared for it like we need to be,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “I told the team that was my fault.”
Once the Aggies started struggling from the floor, Oklahoma stuck with the zone and Texas A&M never shot it well enough to force the Sooners to change strategies.
“They weren't shooting the ball with confidence. They weren't shooting it like they can,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “We didn't plan on playing that much zone coming in but it turned out we ended up playing a lot more zone than man. That's the first time we've done that on the year.”
MANKIN SEES EARLY TIME
Freshman forward Austin Mankin hasn't played much more than mop-up minutes so far this season.
But late in the first half Saturday, Kruger inserted Mankin for Frank Booker for nearly four minutes.
Mankin quickly took advantage, grabbing a defensive rebound on his first possession on the floor and then hitting a 3-pointer at the other end.
It was Mankin's first field goal of the season.
“We need to get Austin in that rotation a little bit more,” Kruger said. “Especially with Je'lon (Hornbeak) out. We need one more guy to get into that rotation.”
The Sooners (11-1) are off for more than a week before hosting Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. Dec. 30.
The Bulldogs, who lost to Oklahoma State 70-55 on Dec. 14, are 9-3 entering Sunday's game against Louisiana-Monroe.
OU's game against Louisiana Tech will be its final nonconference game before beginning Big 12 play at Texas on Jan. 4.