NORMAN — Je'lon Hornbeak will admit it. The bright lights of Chesapeake Energy Arena got to him a little bit.
Romero Osby will admit it. His fellow starting forward, Amath M'Baye, didn't have a good game at Chesapeake, but Osby said M'Baye's due for a big game.
Steven Pledger will admit it. It's going to be nice to be home again.
The bright lights, road stumbles, constant travel and first seven of nine games away from home were all factors for the start of Oklahoma's basketball season. Those factors taught the Sooners a few things they'll take into their game 7:05 p.m. Tuesday against Stephen F. Austin at Lloyd Noble Center. It will be OU's first true home game in more than two weeks.
“We came in and warmed up pretty good,” Hornbeak said of Saturday's victory over Texas A&M at Chesapeake Arena. “Then we were like, ‘Man, I can see why everybody comes in and scores 40-50 here.'
“Everything juts fell a little short. The court felt a little longer. We were just kind of thrown off.”
Oklahoma used Sunday to practice shooting. Players stayed afterward with hopes of getting some buckets that evaded them against Texas A&M when three starters ended the game with at least 14 minutes of play and not a single made basket.
One of those starters, M'Baye, recorded only one block and one steal the entire game. Osby said he knows M'Baye is better than that. Osby doesn't like being in M'Baye's ear because he knows the junior transfer knows how to play. However, Osby does think he might try and give him a confidence boost like he did before the West Virginia game in Orlando, Fla.
“I was like ‘Hey, they can't stop you. They can't stop you,'” Osby said. “When I did that, he went out and had a great game. Nineteen points.”
As for being home again, the Sooners' made it out of their seven games away from Norman at 5-2. Pledger said they learned who they can be on the road.
“You see if you can play and shoot on the road,” Pledger said, “if you're able to do things that you're not comfortable doing. Can you do it out of state? Can you do it away from home?”