NORMAN — Maybe Steven Pledger should stick with his old Nikes.
The Oklahoma senior guard would say after Monday's 72-42 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi that he wasn't even thinking about his shots because his shoes were so comfortable.
That's how it's been these last two games for Pledger. He's been running hard, making threes and helping his team win without stressing over his shots after he started the season playing less-than-explosively.
Two days after helping the Sooners to a win over Ohio, Pledger had 17 points in Oklahoma's win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in McCasland Field House.
The Sooners handed the Islanders (1-10) their 10th straight loss. Although TAMU-CC got a team-high 14 points from former Putnam City North standout Joy Williamson, Pledger and his red shoes — and his teammates — were too dominant.
“The first few times we played here in scrimmage, we were still trying to get used to it,” Pledger said of McCasland. “But after that, it became a pretty good place. It gives a good backdrop behind the goal.”
The Sooners (9-3) combined to go 24-for-59 from the floor and 9-for-26 from beyond the arc. Junior forward Amath M'Baye added 14 points and six rebounds.
“I like the potential of this group,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We can't be content with where we're at by any means. Big 12 play is going to be really tough every night out.
“We've got to get better every day in practice and not just game to game. Every day in practice just communicating better and talking better and communicating to each other.”
The game held at a fast pace much of the first half, except for a four-minute scoring drought with under nine minutes remaining.
“I'm just glad we were able to jump on top like that and keep the pedal to the metal,” M'Baye said.
But what do Pledger's shoes have to do with Oklahoma's 30-point victory?
He said the old pair of red Nikes that he got after his freshman season are the reason he's shooting so well. Pledger went 6-for-15 in total field goals and 5-for-10 from the 3-point line Monday.
“Those are the shoes that I have had major games in, minus a pair of Kobes that I had my 38 (points) in,” Pledger said. “The other 30-point games, the other really good games that I have, they've been in those shoes.”
In the other games this season, he's worn that pair of Kobe Bryant shoes. He changed into his old shoes after the first half against Ohio on Saturday and went 6-for-8 in the second half of that game. He's scored 31 points since the switch.
Is there anything special about those red Nikes that his equipment manager said look like a pair of sneakers he is going to run straight through?
“Not to the eye, but they're special to me,” Pledger said. “I've always kept them in case I had to go back, go back to my roots.”