Eleven days passed between Oklahoma's loss to Arkansas and the Sooners victory against Texas A&M.
During the days in between, OU coach Lon Kruger continually talked about one trait his team needed: physicality.
In its first eight games, the Sooners let a lot of teams push them around. Sam Grooms said OU was getting beat up.
“Gonzaga beat us up,” he said. “West Virginia beat us up. Then Oral Roberts beat us up.”
Then came Arkansas. The Razorbacks found every hole in the Sooners' defense that game, but Oklahoma started to show a little improvement in their physical play. After the game, Kruger said it was still an area that needed to work.
Then on Saturday, in the All-College Classic, the Sooners did to Texas A&M what had been done 11 days earlier to them by Arkansas and so many games before that: they sped up, played physical and, as a bonus, had a bench player who was pretty much uncontainable.
After an 11-day break, junior reserve Cameron Clark changed the momentum of the game. Clark scored a season-high 17 points, but more importantly for Kruger, OU played more physical, grabbing 31 rebounds and 10 steals.
The postgame quotes that came from Aggies coach Billy Kennedy sounded similar to those of Kruger, Steven Pledger and Romero Osby OU failed to contain Arkansas' Marshawn Powell, who scored a career-high 33 points.
Here's what Kennedy said:
On the physicality of the game: “I think they were more physical ... When Cameron Clark came in and played a 4, or something that he hadn't done a whole lot this year and make shots like he made, that makes a tough match up.”
That's how Powell's hot night was seen — something that is pretty difficult to stop.
There's more. Kennedy, on the pace of the game: “We did a poor job of handling the young guards … give Oklahoma the credit. They were bigger and more athletic than some of the teams we've played in the past.
“They sped us up.”
That's the same thing Arkansas did to Oklahoma. The Razorbacks' speed forced OU into making mistakes. Oklahoma knew it. Then Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, OU applied it against Texas A&M, which finished with 19 turnovers.
Kruger has said many times this is a team that is willing to learn. If it can take what it learns from losses and apply those lessons — well, the Sooners might shock a lot of people in the Big 12.